Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex is backing a new charity cookbook to help raise funds for a community cooking project set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster which killed 72 people in June 2017.
“She (Duchess of Sussex) asked me how many days do you offer this service and I said: ‘two days a week’, and her straight question was: ‘why not seven days?’ And I said: ‘funding’, so she goes: ‘we can do a cookbook’,” said Zahira Gaswala, one of the coordinators of the community kitchen, based at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre close to the tower, because she had nowhere to prepare food after losing her home in the fire.
The Hubb Community Project now caters for women seeking somewhere to cook fresh food for their families and friends in the aftermath of the inferno which engulfed the 24-storey social housing block in North Kensington, west London. They called the kitchen the Hub Community Kitchen because in Arabic ‘hub’ means love.
The new book, Together: Our Community Cookbook, a collection of 50 recipes from the diverse users of the communal kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, will be used to allow the project to expand and open for up to seven days a week.
The former actress’ support for the project since January is her first solo initiative since becoming a member of the royal family after marrying Prince Harry in May. She also used her clout to help find a publisher for the book. Her love of food was well documented on her social media channels, often posting exotic spreads on Instagram.
The Duchess of Sussex is supporting a new charity cookbook, ‘Together: Our Community Cookbook’, which celebrates the power of cooking to bring communities together. #CookTogether pic.twitter.com/XEclxgQjR4
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 17, 2018
Family recipes from across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean are featured in the book. In their introduction, the women said: “Our kitchen has always been a place of good food, love, support and friendship.
“We cook the recipes we’ve grown up with; there’s no stress, and the recipes always work because they have been made so many times – it’s proper comfort food.”
Another survivor who contributed recipes to the book said: “I feel very excited that my own unique recipes are going to be used around the world, because some of the recipes I put in there are actually very unique to my family.”
The Grenfell fire was Britain’s deadliest residential blaze since WWII and there was criticism that the authorities were slow to organise a disaster relief effort and provide new permanent accommodation for many of the survivors.
Meghan will also host an event at her Kensington Palace home on 20 September to launch the cookbook with the Royal Foundation administering proceeds from sales to the Hubb project.