COSTA MESA — A carrot, stalk of celery, onion, potato, tomato, cabbage and sprinkle of barley were dropped into a large metal cooking pot, along with one other special ingredient.
Holding a gray stone high above the pot, Geoffry Ianniello dropped it in with a clang.
"Is that enough stones?" asked Ianniello, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's nutrition services operations manager for Network for a Healthy California.
The first-grade class, all wearing green crowns with large shamrocks on the front, shouted "no" until Ianniello added two more stones.
Robyn Reese's class at Adams Elementary School celebrated St. Patrick's Day on Thursday morning by stepping into the Irish folktale "Stone Soup" by reading and then tasting some of its soup.
"Again, we're stepping into the literature," Reese said, dressed in black tights with green shamrocks.
Steaming bowls were set on each student's desk, filling the room with the rich smell as district nutritionalist Pam Williams read the folktale.
"I could eat this all day," shouted 7-year-old Joseph Solis as the students started eating.
Kristy Herrera agreed the soup was tasty, but the 6-year-old said she isn't one to shy away from vegetables.
She was among a handful of students with a potato on her desk, but the students weren't sure what they were for.
Reese said she planned for the class to weigh the potatoes and measure their circumference later in the day, explaining that the exercise added a math lesson to the celebration.
The students would also be using their noses to roll the vegetable across the grass to look for leprechauns, Reese said.
The search for the mythical creature is why Kristy said she liked St. Patrick's Day so much.
"Because we're going to find leprechauns later on," she said.
Make your own Stone Soup
Heat some water in a pot. Add a stone you've scrubbed a lot.
Sprinkle pepper, salt and herbs. Let it boil undisturbed.
Drop in onions. Potatoes, too. Let it heat through and through.
Stir in carrots to make it sweet. Add alphabet pasta for a treat.
Pour in chicken broth, let it stew. Let it bubble, let it brew.
Taste the soup when it's done. Share your soup with everyone.
Poem courtesy of Robyn Reese