EVERYDAY GOURMET: Pantry priorities

By Kim Dannies

During deep winter, few things make me happier than making tomato soup and setting in a supply of olive oil and chocolate. It gives me a feeling of security, like that stack of firewood out on our snow-frosted deck.

When stocking up the pantry, it is easy to take for granted all of the possibilities that a local supermarket affords. At the same time, I know that many folks lack the security of a full pantry and struggle on a modest winter grocery budget. The Williston Community Food Shelf does an outstanding job bridging the gap for our hungry neighbors, yet the need for assistance is growing everyday. According to WFS Volunteer Sally Stockwell Metro, “Each month for the past 6 months we have had increasing numbers of family visits. We now see around 240 family visits a month (our families can come twice a month, and about 75 of them do come twice), representing over 800 individuals.”

Now that the holidays have passed, it’s a good time to take stock of our pantries and priorities, and to help others do so as well. Checks, gift cards to local supermarkets, and pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, canned fruits, veggies and soup are the most helpful items to contribute. Visit for hours of operation and volunteer opportunities. Assisting the hungry is a form of sacred activism—please consider a donation to your local food shelf today.


Hearty Tomato Soup

This soup is heavenly paired with toasted English muffins topped with melted cheese.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a soup pot. Dice two large onions and sauté, stirring often with a wooden spoon, 15-20 minutes, until caramelized. Deglaze the pot with 1 cup of chicken stock. Add five minced garlic cloves, two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomato, 1 cup orange juice, and 4 cups of chicken stock. Let the soup simmer 10 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. (If you prefer a creamy soup, add 1 cup cream after heat is off.)  Serves 10.


To learn more about WFS, visit for my e-interview with Sally Stockwell Metro.


Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at