Meghan Markle has unveiled her first major solo charity venture since joining the royal family and becoming Duchess of Sussex: a cookbook helping the families affected by last year’s Grenfell Tower fire.
The Duchess first made a private visit to the kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, now known as the Hubb Community Kitchen, back in January, and has made a number of trips since. Now, she has written a three page forward to Together: Our Community Cookbook, which features more than 50 recipes from women in the Grenfell community.
Recalling her first visit to the kitchen, Meghan writes: ‘An apron was quickly wrapped around me, I pushed up my sleeves and I found myself washing the rice for lunch […] All the aromas percolating in a kitchen filled with countless languages aflutter remains one of my most treasured memories from my first visit to the kitchen.’ She goes on to discuss how she was inspired by how the women she met used cooking to bring their communities together, describing the kitchen as ‘a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together […] space to feel a sense of normalcy’ after such a devastating event.
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The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Based on ancient Toltec wisdom and promising to contain a code of conduct that should theoretically lead to freedom, happiness and love, Meghan was given a copy of The Four Agreements by her mother Doria when she was 13 years old. Per her Tig piece, she 'constantly circle[s] back to the Don Miguel Ruiz classic for the simplest ways to simplify your life,' and from her clever use of repetition, we can glean that Meghan loves simplicity; she was probably into Marie Kondo before it was a thing, you guys! The Agreements themselves actually sound like they have the potential to be pretty useful in Meghan's future life. First, there's 'be impeccable with your word,' fair advice given that everything the new royal says on the record has the power to generate its own news story. Then there's 'don't take anything personally' and 'don't make assumptions' – don't take Prince George's side-eye personally, and don't assume you have to dress in homage to Princess Diana – and 'always do your best.'
The Duchess, who has long held an interest in food and would often spotlight recipes and chefs on her old lifestyle blog The Tig, also shared memories of ‘one of [her] own favourite meals’: ‘collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread – a meal I would look forward to throughout my childhood: the smell of yellow onions simmering amongst a slow-cooked pot of greens from my grandma’s back garden; the earthy textures of peas; and a golden loaf of cornbread puff-puffing away to a browned peak in the warmth of the oven.’
One recipe in particular that has received the Meghan Markle seal of approval is the Green Chile & Avocado dip created by Grenfell survivor Munira Mahmud, who helped start up the kitchen project. Made with just a few ingredients – green chillis, cilantro leaves, plain yoghurt, lemons, garlic and an avocado – it has become Meghan’s ‘very favourite avocado dip that I now make at home.’ So, in case you were wondering about the Sussexes' preferred accompanied for Kettle Chips, or whichever brand of upscale crisps is their favourite, you finally have an answer.
Together: Our Community Cookbook will be available to buy from 25th September.__