Savoring the Seasons: Room at the table for everyone

For The Recorder
Published: 11/22/2016 2:01:51 PM

Last Saturday, I chatted at a contra dance in Montague with Evelyn Lane who lives in Montague Center. We talked about Monte Belmonte’s powerful fundraising walk for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Monte, Congressman Jim McGovern and a parade of other community members were about to put their feet where their hearts are, encouraging us all to join them in helping end hunger. I told Evelyn about Monte’s recent Facebook post with a photo that said, “Dressed as a glam Pilgrim, because freely feeding immigrants has long been a tradition in this land.”

Evelyn said, “Yes, we do have a long tradition of accepting all at our table.”

We talked about how Thanksgiving has a complex history that isn’t just about generosity and gratitude. But, across the United States, in small towns and big cities, there is a tradition of accepting all people and sharing food.

Today, Wednesday, Nov. 23, I’m helping serve dinner to our neighbors at one of Franklin County Community Meals Program’s free meals in Greenfield at Second Congregational Church on the Greenfield Town Common. Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner is served at 5:30. Part of the menu is a turkey donated by the generous folks at Diemand Farm in Wendell. I am so grateful for all that the meals program and Diemand Farm do for our community.

I’m also grateful for the generous folks at The People’s Pint and Stone Soup Café, who are serving pay-what-you-can Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday. The People’s Pint’s Thanksgiving for the People will be served from noon to 5 p.m. on Federal Street. Guests are encouraged to pay what they can, with profits to benefit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and other local charities. Local farms and businesses supporting the People’s Pint meal include Apex Orchards, Diemand Farm, Squash Trucking, Just Roots, Girard’s Valley View Farm, Pine Hill Orchards and Snow’s Ice Cream.

The Stone Soup Café serves a pay-what-you-can meal every Saturday at All Souls Church on Main Street in Greenfield. This Thursday, it will serve a family-friendly, pay-what-you-can drop-in Thanksgiving Dinner from 1 to 4 p.m. Suggested amount per person for those who can pay is $10. There will be craft activities for kids. As of when I wrote this column, Stone Soup needed volunteers to help. Contact Patti at 413-768-7346 or email:

A favorite writer of mine, Rebecca Solnit, wrote a book called, “A Paradise Built in Hell,” about the extraordinary communities that arise in the wake of disasters. She writes about how after a natural or human-made disaster, people pull together and help each other out, often sharing whatever food they have. I thought about a conversation I had with Sandy Kosterman about her “hurricane soup.” She developed it when she made soup out of whatever she had during a storm when she couldn’t get out to the store for food.

How are you pulling together with others to help each other out?

This week we’re eating ...

Hurricane Vegetable Soup

By Sandy Kosterman, Greenfield

1 lb. turkey kielbasa

1 small-medium white onion, chopped

6 small potatoes, unpeeled and diced

1 bunch kale, cut up with scissors

1 zucchini, unpeeled and diced

1 lb. carrots, cut up small/diced

½ bunch celery, cut up small (leaves also)

½ yellow pepper, cut small/diced

½ red pepper, diced

1 tomato, chopped small/diced

Basil leaves, cut with scissors

6 green onions, cut with scissors

8 C. water

1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped

4 T. olive oil

Saute white onions in olive oil, until brown, over medium heat. Add cut up kielbasa and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes or so. Add 8 C. water. Add rest of ingredients. Bring to boil, then reduce and cook until veggies are tender. Simmer until ready to enjoy. Add macaroni to the pot, if you wish. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired. Basically, use what you have on hand when you can’t get to the store.

Local food advocate and community organizers Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College, brand promoter for Goshen-based local food company Appalachian Naturals and writer-editor for More Than Sound. Send column suggestions and recipes to:


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