The Weekend Australian - Travel - - The Food Issue - MICHELLE ROWE

THERE are few cook­books that can boast chefs as well known as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nel­son Man­dela and Des­mond Tutu, plus a fore­word by Meryl Streep. The com­mon thread among th­ese con­trib­u­tors is their com­mit­ment to hu­man­i­tar­ian work and to help­ing women whose lives have been dev­as­tated by war and famine, from Su­dan to Afghanistan.

The or­gan­is­ers be­hind Women for Women In­ter­na­tional, a char­ity founded in 1993, wanted to pro­duce a cook­book that would cel­e­brate our shared hu­man­ity through the food we eat. Arecipe for por­ridge with spiced fruit com­pote from An­nie Len­nox, ac­tress Robin Wright’s let­tuce wraps with chilli sauce and Dame Judi Dench’s bread and but­ter pud­ding sit along­side poignant sto­ries of women such as Huma from Afghanistan, who has plans to open her own beauty par­lour af­ter be­ing pro­vided with vo­ca­tional train­ing by WfWI, or Chris­tine from the Congo, a widow and rape vic­tim who has found new hope through the char­ity’s sup­port net­work.

De­spite the of­ten har­row­ing per­sonal sto­ries and some sober­ing statis­tics — 70 per cent of those liv­ing on less than $1 a day are fe­male; the aver­age life span of an Afghan woman is 51 — this up­lift­ing book con­veys the mes­sage that food can unite us and be a tool for change. All of the pub­lisher’s prof­its will go to­wards the char­ity’s hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­forts, an ex­pected in­come of $75,000 world­wide. It’s a beau­ti­ful com­pi­la­tion, with healthy, ev­ery­day recipes (in­clud­ing spe­cial­ties from the eight coun­tries in which the char­ity works), and will ap­peal to home cooks and ex­perts alike.

Recipes are mixed with poignant sto­ries

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