in News October 12, 2018

Grenfell Community Recipe Book Celebrates the Unity

For her first solo project as The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle is championing a charity cookbook inspired by women affected by the Grenfell fire. Together: Our Community Cookbook features over 50 recipes from across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and beyond, and celebrates the power of cooking to connect us to one another.

In a foreword to the book, The Duchess describes being inspired by the women and their passion for cooking as a way of strengthening communities, as well as how the project, Hubb Coomunity Kitchen, empowers women at a grassroots level:

“I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen; it is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together. Melding cultural identities under a shared roof, it creates space to feel a sense of normalcy – in its simplest form, the universal need to connect, nurture, and commune through food, through crisis or joy – something we can all relate to.”

Word of the community kitchen quickly spread after a group of women displaced by the fire were invited to use the cooking facilities at Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre: one of the many religious and civil institutions which provided help to residents in the wake tragedy. The participants began to share recipes and, over the chatter and aromas of the kitchen, to heal and look forward.

The solidarity and support that the kitchen offers the women is mirrored in the book’s introduction, where they describe what the project means to them:

“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.”

“Swapping family recipes and moments of laughter gave us a sense of normality and home. We named ourselves the Hubb Community Kitchen to celebrate the thing that we all feel every time we meet – hubb means love in Arabic.”

At Faiths Forum for London, we believe passionately in creating opportunities for dialogue between communities – herein lies our best chance of overcoming common challenges and concerns.

Sometimes obstacles to communication arise. However, as projects like the Hubb community kitchen demonstrate, there is so much that connects us, and so many opportunities for us to use these connections to break down barriers.

Cooking is one example of a force for unity in our society, transcending race, religion and culture to act as leveller. It enables us to discover joy, surprise and commonality within one another’s differences. By using cooking to promote mutual understanding, offer counsel and reflection, and showcase the beauty of diversity, the Hubb Community Kitchen has helped the women of Grenfell to create a new, unique mode of understanding and relating to one another. It is a shining example of what can be achieved when people from all walks of life unite around a common purpose.

We hope that by sharing their stories and recipes, they’ll inspire more people to discover new ways of connecting with others and transforming lives.

Together was released on the 20th September, proceeds go towards sustaining the kitchen

in News October 12, 2018