Meghan Markle Launches a Charity Cookbook with Women Affected by the Grenfell Fire

For her first solo project as a member of the royal family, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has collaborated with a group of female survivors of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire to launch a charity cookbook, featuring all of their family recipes.

The funds gathered by Together: Our Community Cookbook will support Hubb Community Kitchen, which was established last year by a group of women as a place to cook fresh food for their families, friends and neighbors after being displaced by the fire that killed 72 people.

Markle, who wrote the forward for the cookbook, described the cookbook as a labor of love that brought the group of women together.

“Together is more than a cookbook. This is a tale of friendship, and a story of togetherness,” she wrote. “It is a homage to the power of cooking as a community, and the recipes that allow us to connect, share and look forward.”

The authors of the cookbook gathered in the communal kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London last year, and as word spread, more women joined in the kitchen, thus beginning the Hubb Community Kitchen, Harper’s Bazaar reports. Hubb means love in Arabic.

The community kitchen allowed the community to “connect, heal and look forward and to convene through food,” according to a press release from Kensington Palace.

Markle first visited the kitchen in January 2018, and has continued to make regular visits to the community kitchen.

“I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen; it is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together,” the Duchess of Sussex wrote in the foreword.

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

According to Kensington Palace, Markle was inspired by how the women’s project empowered them at a grassroots level.

In the foreword, the Duchess of Sussex shares some of her family traditions and how cooking has become a means of connection in her own life.

“I have a 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,” Markle wrote. “Within this kitchen’s walls, there exists not only the communal bond of togetherness through sharing food, but also a cultural diversity that creates what I would describe as a passport on a plate: the power of a meal to take you to places you’ve never been, or transport you right back to where you came from.”

According to ABC News, Markle also shared that when she attended Northwestern University, she would long to go home and enjoy some of her mother’s gumbo, and how, as a child, she loved to have her grandmother’s black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread.

When the Duchess moved to Toronto to films Suits, she fell in love with Canadian dishes, such as poutine, but still cherished California cuisine, where she grew up “craving fish tacos and the memory of eating hometown fare infused with a strong Mexican influence.”

Prior to marrying Prince Harry in May, Markle’s charitable and humanitarian endeavors reflected themes of women’s empowerment and gender equality, and it appears that Markle, with her first solo project as a member of the royal family, will carry on supporting and empowering women from all walks of life.

Together: Our Community Cookbook will be released on September 20 and you can preorder the cookbook now.