From the Kettle - Issue #5

From the Kettle - Issue #5

Welcome to the Stone Soup Café’s Monthly Newsletter! We aim to share important information with you!

Posted: to General Newsletter on Wed, Jul 28, 2021
Updated: Thu, Aug 5, 2021

What's New at the Café

Volunteer Leslie Smith!

Volunteering traditionally dips in the summertime as folks are traveling. But we've still managed to wrangle a bunch of folks to keep us above water. The Café had 65 unique volunteers in June, and 83 unique folks in July who showed up to volunteer. We calculated a total of 384 hours of volunteer labor for the month of June and 490 hours of volunteer labor in July.

A special shoutout to our SUPER DEDICATED volunteers! These folks have contributed anywhere from 12 hours to 40 hours of volunteer time each month!

JUNE 2021 -- Dianne P., Louise S., Deborah F., Charlotte G., Emily K., Melanie H., Jenn C.

JULY 2021 -- Dianne P., Hannelore, Louise S., Deborah F., Penny R., Mark M., Casey K., Emily K., Scout

P.S. We made a few fun YouTube videos this month to introduce folks to what it’s like to volunteer at the Café. We have more videos coming this month (including knife skills and kitchen etiquette). Check them out here and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

— Arriving for a Volunteer Shift: https://youtu.be/xaVRRvhewY4

— How To Clean Up After Food Prep: https://youtu.be/XQM1TjiQr6Q

In other volunteer news, we are spotlighting a newer volunteer: Leslie Smith! She’s been volunteering with us every Friday for the past six months. She moved to Greenfield at the end of 2019 from Williamsburg, MA, where she had been living for over 20 years. Her neighbor recommended Stone Soup Café is a great place to get to know the community. "It’s been so nice to come out and meet people,” says Leslie. “I love being able to see the Friday afternoon crowd every week. It’s a very welcoming and interesting group.” When she’s not at Stone Soup on Fridays, Leslie works for MassMutual as a Systems Analyst, but she’ll be retiring at the end of the year. What’s her least favorite part of volunteering? "Everyone has their pet-peeve vegetable,” she says. “For me, I don’t like chopping bok choi, it can be so fussy!” We hear ya, Leslie! Thanks for being a part of our Stone Soup family, despite the pesky bok choi.

Volunteer Mike M!
Volunteer Mike M!

Harvest Supper

Image by local artist Karen Gaudette

The Harvest Supper is upon us! In just a few weeks we will gather in person once again for a fantastic meal on the Greenfield Town Common and Square. We will have food, music, entertainment, a Really, REALLY Free Market Table, Harvest Supper Merchandise, and a raffle table of fantastic gift baskets from local businesses! We hope that this year's event will be full of joy and laughter as we come together in person once again!

There are so many opportunities for you to participate in the supper!! Dine with us - bring the family, your friends, and neighbors, volunteer to make, serve, set up, or clean up after the meal. Donate to help us defray the cost of the event - and pay for your meal - donations are always welcomed.

Volunteer shifts are open for signups, and we are looking forward to your working with us to produce a fantastic meal made almost entirely from the bounty of our happy valley! Want to know more? Go to our website page here.

Mission Focus: Paying it Forward

For a little, over 9 years the Stone Soup Café has been a Pay-What-You-Can community restaurant. Although many people continue to call it a "free meal" the Saturday offerings are anything but free. We depend on you, our community, to help us pay for the costs of running a community restaurant. One in which all people are welcome regardless, of their identity, beliefs, socio-economic status, or ability to pay. Operating in this manner is not for the faint of heart or those with little faith in their neighbors to help one another including us!

So why operate a Pay-What-You-Can Café? The simple answer is we provide more than nutritional sustenance through a charity model. Our Café gives so much more than a meal to our guests! We provide opportunities to learn, grow, and be of service to something larger - the community. We have faith that our neighbors want to help one another in a mutual aid model that provides dignity and respect for all and eliminates the stigmas that so often accompany one's inability to pay for quality food.

We have been running our Pay-For-A-Neighbor recurring donation campaign since May 2021 and have wonderful news to share with you! Currently, we have $2,100.00 pledged in monthly recurring donations. Our goal is to raise $5,000.00 a month in recurring donations. A huge "Thank You!" to those who have already signed up to Pay-It-Forward. We so appreciate your support.

Haven't signed up yet? PAY-IT-FORWARD: bit.ly/pay-it-forward-2021

Community Impact

Our "Free Store" (recently renamed) continues to be a huge help to people in need. In June, we shared grocery items with 341 people, and in July we had 449 visits to our Free Store! The Café surveyed the Free Store guests and we learned that this resource is so vital to our community. Thanks to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, it is with great pleasure that we announce that the Free Store will be a permanent part of the Café's offerings!

As the summer rolls into fall, our Free Store will receive an even greater bounty of local vegetables and products. We are so grateful to be able to share with our community.

In terms of our delicious lunches, June and July were relatively quieter months at the Café. We served 1,523 meals in June and 1,895 meals in July. As of today, we've cooked over thirteen thousand meals for our community members! Holy mackrel.

Recipe of the Month & Upcoming Menu Themes

August Recipe

It's summertime and I love baking with fresh local fruit and produce. So this month I thought I'd share a sweet treat recipe with you. Many of you might not realize that the Café runs a 100% gluten-free kitchen. What that means is no loose wheat or gluten-containing flour is used at all in our facility, so not particles of gluten are in our environment at all! Added to that the large demand for our meals (350 +) every week often means I am baking one dessert that is yummy and vegan so everyone can enjoy it! Here's one of my favorite (after chocolate mocha) flavor combinations - if you don't want to make the cake gluten-free just substitute all-purpose flour for the gluten-free flour.

Vegan Lemon Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 23
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
  • Yield: 16

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 1/4 cups gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour, sifted (do NOT skip- add in 1 tbsp arrowroot powder if using all-purpose flour or gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar (you can also use brown sugar or a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup dairy-free milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, room temperature (we use Oat or Hemp milk)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (stand mixer method) or melted (by hand method) - (we use smart balance avocado spread)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest

Vegan Buttercream:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, room temperature (we use smart balance avocado spread)
  • 3–4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2–3 tbsp dairy-free milk (we use Oat or Hemp milk)
  • 2 pints of fresh local raspberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • A pinch of lemon zest (or 2)
  • 2 Tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease three 6″ or 8″ cake pans with olive or coconut oil.
  2. Mix together the dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
  3. Whisk together just the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Next, you’ll cream together the softened vegan butter and sugar until the sugar dissolves into the butter for about 3 minutes. I used the flat beater paddle. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  5. Then add in the unsweetened applesauce, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and continue to beat again on medium-low speed, then increasing it to medium speed until combine, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  6. Gradually add in half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the vegan buttermilk, and continue beating until the entire flour mixture and the buttermilk are in the batter. Beat until the dry ingredients are just incorporated, being careful not to over mix. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  7. Divide the batter evenly into the cake pans.
  8. Place cake pans into the oven and bake for 23-26 minutes (for 6″) or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a drying rack to cool completely before frosting.

Vegan Vanilla Raspberry Buttercream:

  1. When ready to frost the cakes, add vegan butter to a large bowl or stand mixer and cream for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, continuing the beat the mixture until it’s a thick buttercream.
  3. Add in the fresh berries and mix until the fruit is well incorporated.
  4. Add in vanilla, lemon, and zest, and 2-4 tablespoons of dairy-free milk and continue to beat until desired texture.
  5. In between each layer, add 1/4 cup raspberry jam. It will begin to drip onto the sides of the cake. When frosting the sides of the cake, the raspberry jam will blend into the frosting. Frost the rest of the cake and top with lemon slices. Slice and enjoy!

Upcoming Menu Themes:

  • 08/07/21- World Indigenous People’s Day - Indigenous dishes from North America

  • 08/14/21 - International Youth Day - SUB - Chef Brandon will bring you a youthful summertime meal

  • 08/21/21 - Senior Citizens Day - A selection of guest favorites for summertime eating!

  • 8/22/21 - Harvest Supper - A Locally sourced Feast!

  • 08/28/21 - Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day - An Indian themed meal

  • 09/04/21 - Labor Day - Traditional Picnic Fare with the Return of Soup for the Fall!

  • 09/11/21 - 9/11/01 Remembrance - Comfort food for a difficult 20th anniversary of this tradgedy