Sunday Times

THE POWER OF COOK­ING GOES WAY BE­YOND THE FOOD

- Recipes · Cooking · Food · Meghan, Duchess of Sussex · West London · London · Iraq · Morocco · India · Russia · Penguin Random House · Random House · The Penguin Group · Uganda

Two weeks ago Meghan Markle launched her first char­ity ini­tia­tive as a royal, the recipe book To­gether: Our Com­mu­nity Cook­book. The recipes share the sto­ries of West Lon­don com­mu­nity mem­bers com­ing to­gether at the Al Manaar Mus­lim Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­tre kitchen to cook for their fam­i­lies and neigh­bours af­ter the dev­as­tat­ing Gren­fell Tower Fire.

They be­came known as the Hubb Com­mu­nity Kitchen (hubb means “love” in Ara­bic) and as more lo­cal peo­ple have joined the cook­ing ses­sions so the kitchen has be­come a sanc­tu­ary of good food, love, sup­port and friend­ship.

An­other part of the story is the royal con­nec­tion. Markle, the Duchess of Sus­sex, vis­ited the kitchen in Jan­uary and her sub­se­quent vis­its have ce­mented a con­nec­tion to the com­mu­nity kitchen. It was this con­nec­tion which helped ger­mi­nate the idea of a cook­book. Her com­mit­ment and pas­sion is felt in the fore­word to the book.

In it she ex­plains how ear­lier this year when she was set­tling in to her new home in Lon­don, she made a quiet trip to the Al Man­nar mosque kitchen where “an apron was quickly wrapped around me, I pushed up my sleeves and I found my­self wash­ing the rice for lunch”.

The duchess shared a few other notes about the ex­pe­ri­ence:

• The kitchen is cozy and brightly lit, scented with car­damom, curry and gin­ger. • It will take you about 15 min­utes to en­ter the room as you will joy­fully be greeted by kisses (cheek x 3) by each of the in­cred­i­ble women there.

• You will find your­self in a melt­ing pot of cul­tures and per­son­al­i­ties who have roots in Uganda, Iraq, Morocco, In­dia, Rus­sia and at least 10 other coun­tries. • You will feel joy­ful in their com­pany, and you will leave count­ing the days un­til you go back. — Hi­lary Biller

All pro­ceeds of the sale of ‘To­gether: Our Com­mu­nity Cook­book’ (pub­lished by Ebury Press/ Pen­guin Ran­dom House) will go to the Hubb Com­mu­nity Kitchen to strengthen lives and com­mu­ni­ties through cook­ing. The hard­cover cook­book will be avail­able in South African book stores from Novem­ber 12, for R455.

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