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Meghan Markle celebrates the power of cooking with new charity cookbook

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Kayleigh Dray
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Together: Our Community Kitchen showcases over 50 recipes from women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Earlier this year, Meghan Markle was crowned one of Time magazine’s annual 100 Most Influential People – an announcement which was accompanied by a glowing essay about the Duchess of Sussex, penned by none other than Priyanka Chopra.

“This ever-smiling, strong free spirit found her prince, fell in love and in turn made a cynical world believe in fairy tales again,” wrote Chopra at the time.

“With her, what you see is real, and what you get is a relatable young woman with her heart and mind in the right place. Her compassion, evident in the causes she supports, and her drive to break down stereotypes—obvious in her actions—will connect her to a generation in much need of kindness.”

“More than anything else, Meghan is an important influencer in a world that needs strong public figures to respect and look up to. People the world can be inspired by.

“Meghan, standing shoulder to shoulder with Harry, will be a princess for the people.”

And her words have certainly rung true this week, as Kensington Palace has finally announced the focus of Meghan’s first solo royal project.

In a series of heart-warming vision and imagery, which was released on social media earlier today, it was revealed that Meghan has thrown her support behind a charity cookbook that showcases recipes from women who were affected by the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

The idea for the Together’ cookbook came from a group of women who started gathering in a communal kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural heritage Centre in West London last summer to prepare food for friends, families and neighbours.

As word started to get out, the Hubb Community Kitchen was born. And the Duchess of Sussex, who first visited the kitchen in January this year, is said to return regularly for private visits.

Kensington Palace said last Meghan 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. So much so that she has written the foreword for Together, which features the women’s own personal recipes from across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

“I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen; it is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together,” writes Meghan.

“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 endeavour, the proceeds will allow the kitchen to thrive and keep the global spirit of community alive.”

In the introduction, the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen go on to say: “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.

“Through this charitable endeavour, the proceeds will allow the kitchen to thrive and keep the global spirit of community alive.”

Discussing the project, Baroness Gail Rebuck, Chair of Penguin Random House, said: “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 Royal Foundation is administering the transfer of funds from the sale of Together to the Hubb Community Kitchen and related projects, and profits will help keep the kitchen open for up to seven days a week and to widen its reach to others in the community.

Image: Kensington Palace

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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