Today we learned about Meghan’s first solo charity project, a new cookbook she is supporting. Together: Our Community Cookbook features more than 50 recipes from the Hubb Community Kitchen.
The Hubb was started by women displaced following the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, which killed 72 people.
You may remember that when visiting Chester in June, the Duchess and HM observed a moment of silence marking the one-year anniversary of the fire.
The Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre located near Grenfell Tower became a centralized gathering place after the fire. The Queen visited the mosque shortly after the deadly blaze, as did Prince William.
Prince Harry also went to the centre.
More about the community kitchen at the centre from The Royal Foundation:
… some of the local women needed a place to cook fresh food for their families. They began to use the kitchen at the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, where the women who worked there had been using the facilities to cook for the community.
In Arabic “hubb” means love; Meghan’s involvement with the Hubb goes back to January. That is when she started making private visits to the Centre.
The Duchess was inspired by how the project empowers women at a grassroots level, and championed the cookbook project as a way of ensuring the kitchen can continue transforming lives and communities through cooking.”
We learn more in this Guardian story:
Munira Mahmud, 34, who started using the kitchen after being placed in a hotel after the fire, writes: “One day the Duchess of Sussex came to see us. She came into the kitchen, very relaxed, very friendly, down to earth. She wore an apron.
“I can’t believe I made her wash rice! After we said that we could only use the kitchen twice a week due to funding, she mentioned: ‘How about sharing your recipes with other people?’ And that’s how it happened.”
According to the palace, Meghan continues to make regular visits to the Hubb. Meghan’s thoughts on the kitchen.
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 a 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…
The Duchess’s foreword covers three pages in the book. In it she shares that she “…watched the Grenfell Tower tragedy unfold on the news; I was in Canada at the time, sharing the global shock and sympathy for what the community was enduring.”
She also speaks of her “lifelong interest in the story of food – where it comes from, why we embrace it and how it brings us together: the universal connection to community through the breaking of bread.”
Meghan says that she hopes “This cookbook is a celebration of life, community and the impact of coming together.”
The recipes include dishes from the eastern Mediterranean, north Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, many of them passed on generation to generation.
They were selected to be accessible: easy to make, without lengthy lists of ingredients. Among them: Green Chilli and Avocado Dip, Coconut Chicken Curry, Aubergine Masala, Persian Chicken with Barberry Rice, Caramelised Plum Upside-Down Cake, Spiced Mint Tea and lots more. If you would like to try some of the recipes, the book’s publisher, Penguin UK, has shared some of them on the company’s blog.
A glance at the cookbook via the publisher.
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In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, a group of local women gathered to cook fresh food for their families and neighbours. Over the chatter and aromas of the kitchen they discovered the power of cooking and eating together – to create connections, restore hope and normality, and provide a sense of home. This was the start of the Hubb Community Kitchen. . Together tells the story of this West London community, and includes a range of delicious recipes from these women, as well as a foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex. All profits from the sales of this book will support the Hubb Community Kitchen to help them strengthen lives and communities through cooking. Watch our story to find out more about this amazing book.
A look at one of the chapters, with thanks to ABC’s Carolyn Durand on Twitter.
We hope Together will inspire you to cook the delicious recipes that fill each page of this book for your family, friends and community. We hope that other communities facing difficulties can experience the healing power of sharing food by setting up their own community kitchens.
Currently the kitchen is open two days a week. It is hoped enough money will be raised through the book sales to keep it open up to seven days a week. The Royal Foundation posted goals for the project.
Reaction to the book from Micki Maynard’s Forbes story.
Unlike some charity efforts, in which a royal simply writes an introduction or poses for a photo opp, Markle appears to have been the driving force behind the cookbook.
Now, with the cookbook, Markle has given a hint of what could capture her interest as she conducts her own charity work.
And from Baroness Rebuck DBE, Chair of Penguin Random House:
“But most of all ‘Together’ is an homage to life and friendship and we hope it will act as a symbol to all communities and encourage cooking together for life and joy.”
Kensington Palace has created a hashtag, #CookTogether, in hopes people will share stories of the way cooking with others or sharing recipes, has enhanced their lives.
This Thursday there is a Kensington Palace party celebrating the book’s launch. We’ll have coverage of that event here on the site.
This is a terrific project for Meghan; my guess is the cookbook sales will easily surpass the initial goal of 50,000 sales.
A 3-minute video with Meghan speaking about the project was also released today.
As far as what Meghan is wearing in the photos and video, it is an unidentified white shirt and the Vanessa Tungendhaft necklace first noted at the Invictus Games tryouts in June.
Filmed over more than a year with privileged access to The Queen, her family, her staff and her residences, this landmark series tells the story of how the Commonwealth has been a central focus and passion throughout Her Majesty’s life.
More on the content involving Meghan from Yahoo UK royal correspondent Danielle Stacy.
In the first episode of ‘Queen of The World’ we see Meghan reunited with her bridal gown and veil for the first time since her wedding day in May, as it’s prepared for a new exhibition at Windsor Castle.
In the US, the program will air on HBO. The first run is Monday October 1, followed by multiple repeat showings. Below, a schedule of the other HBO air dates and times.
In Australia, Seven has the rights (and perhaps NZ as well), but they haven’t released an air date. My guess is they’re waiting to run it closer to the tour.
- Visit the Royal Foundation page about the project by clicking here; read the Kensington Palace news release here.
- Read more about the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Center in west London by clicking here
- Visit the Penguin Books UK site for more photos and info
- The full Guardian piece is here; Micki Maynard’s Forbes story is here; Vanity Fair’s article is here; The Telegraph’s story is here