A TASTE OF ROYALTY: Meghan Markle is all smiles as she rolls up her sleeves and cooks with Grenfell Tower victims
Meghan helped to connect the group to a publisher and her royal Foundation helped with legal and administrative issues
In her first solo project as a member of the royal British family, Meghan Markle has helped bring out a charity cookbook of recipes by victims of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, which left 72 people dead.
The Royal Foundation on Monday released a short film in which Meghan is seen lending a helping hand to a group of women from the Hubb community kitchen in West London in preparing some of the dishes mentioned in the book titled, 'Together: Our Community Cookbook.'
Meghan visited the kitchen first in January, and was instrumental in helping keep the community kitchen going on by suggesting they come up with a cookbook of their favorite 50 recipes.
"'Together' is a cookbook. But, it's also the story of a West London community who gathered together in a kitchen and discovered the healing power of sharing food. In January 2018, as I was settling into my new home of London, I met a group of women whose community had been affected by the Grenfell Fire. They had decided to get together to cook fresh food for their families and their neighbors. And so, for two days ever week, these women were able to cook and share their delicious recipes together. I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen. Like these women, I'm passionate about food and cooking as a way of strengthening communities," Markle says in the promotional video.
Meghan has also written the foreword to the book, which comes out on Thursday and the proceeds of which will be returned to the Hubb Community Kitchen.
Meghan shared that she "immediately felt connected" to the kitchen at the Al Manaar cultural center and has made several secret trips to meet the volunteers there and also learn more about their work.
In the introduction, she writes, "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."
"Through this charitable endeavor, the proceeds will allow the kitchen to thrive and keep the global spirit of community alive," she continued.
A couple of the recipes are family favorites and have been created by the cooks who look after and support the residents affected in the Grenfell fire as well as others in the community.
For the introduction to the book, the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen wrote, "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".
Meghan helped to connect the group to a publisher and her royal Foundation helped with legal and administrative issues. Thirty four-year-old Munira Mahmud who is one of the contributors to the book shared how she and her friends had approached Al Manaar to ask whether they could use the kitchen and as a result the Hubb project rose from it.
Mahmud shared, "Last summer, we were placed in a hotel and I had no kitchen to cook for my family. It was very emotional for me to get into the kitchen. The moment I started cooking I was in tears".
"I didn't know why though. I was just excited to be back in the kitchen again. Word started to spread - the mums from my son's school came along and they told their friends, too. Soon there were women from different cultures all cooking, swapping recipes, talking and laughing together," Mahmud continued. "She wore an apron," Mahmud said of Meghan. "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".
The chair of Penguin Random House, Baroness Rebuck DBE shared, "We were instantly caught up by the extraordinary vision for this project with the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen. Every woman who has contributed a recipe to this book has also contributed a fragment of their lives and memories. Each dish tells a story of culture, family and a sense of home. 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".
The dishes which have been mentioned in the book are the women's personal recipes across regions like Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean. Only last week, it was reported that more than 1,200 people scarred and traumatized by the Grenfell fire were treated for mental health issues.