Eliot Fiks was given the E-achievement award on the 20th of August, 1999, a humanitarian award given to unsung heroes, who have affected their communities in positive and valuable ways. The award was granted by E-Town, a nationally syndicated radio show on NPR. E-Town has been on the air since 1991, and is a show similar to Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keeler. E-Town aired on November 9, 1999, with Eliot Fiks and Kris Kristofferson as their guests.
Have you ever heard of Stone Soup? Well, that’s where Eliot’s heroism lies… As a restaurant owner he created a new and innovative way to feed the hungry, going above and beyond the scope of other restaurants. Borrowing the name from the classic fairy tale, the idea is essentially the same: making a delicious soup (and here’s the magic), from what appears to be nothing. Eliot noticed a few years back that “nothing” was that (very edible) little bit of veggie left on the end of a carrot, zucchini, or green pepper the cook finished using. He made note of that spoonful of rice left over, the top of the tomato, and piece of potato. The fate of this perfectly good food had always been the garbage, until Eliot decided he would make something out of nothing. Instead of being garbage bound, these bits of carrot, tomato, and others became plastic container bound, and found themselves in the freezer, waiting until there was enough of them to make soup. Sooner rather than later, with the addition of a few basic ingredients and spices, a five gallon bucket of hearty and nutritious soup was made and picked up by an area soup kitchen. Then another, and another, and it became a regular process, in which the entire staff at Whole in the Wall restaurant participates.
An alternate food source is what Eliot tapped into, one that because of the abundance in our society, has been overlooked. It is one thing to give to the hungry what has already been made, as his restaurant does with its homemade bread, and others do with leftovers from catering jobs, etc.. It is quite another to make something out of “nothing”, that every restaurant has, but throws away. If every restaurant made stone soup, millions of people would be fed, on top of what is given to them from area restaurant’s leftovers. Stone Soup is an additional food source, essentially created from “nothing”. Eliot has fed 17,000 people… one man, one restaurant. Imagine ten people, ten restaurants! Or even more. In Eliot’s words “A little ends up to be a lot”.