Good works deserve great praise—and that’s exactly what Serena Williams had for her longtime friend, H.R.H. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, upon hearing about her latest act of philanthropy—collaborating on a cookbook with a group of women affected by the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in West London, England in June 2017. As reported by the Royal Foundation website:
Last summer, a group of women gathered in a communal kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London, where they could prepare fresh food for their families, friends and neighbours. As they cooked together and shared recipes, as a community they began to connect, heal and look forward. Word spread and more women joined in – this was the start of the Hubb Community Kitchen.
The proceeds from the book will support the Hubb Community Kitchen, enabling it to stay open and to thrive.
Markle, who formerly ran a lifestyle website called The Tig, began regularly visiting the kitchen in January of this year, quickly becoming “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,” according to the Royal Foundation site.
Prior to the fire, Grenfell Tower primarily housed low-income and working class people, many of whom were of color. Seventy-two deaths and seventy injuries were reported as a result of the fire, hundreds more were displaced and an estimated 67 percent of survivors suffered PTSD as a result of the incident. In the foreword to the cookbook, which features 50 recipes from across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, Markle wrote:
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.
Upon learning about the project, Williams posted her own promotion of the book on her social media with the message:
“I used to call you Meghan (and I still do) but dear Duchess of Sussex your first project Together [is] a cookbook bringing women of all cultures together. I could not be more excited about it and proud of you. It’s beautiful—diversity, inclusivity, coming together in grief or joy—there is just so much love.”
We’re definitely feeling the love—and will have to lend our support when Together: Our Community Cookbook becomes available on Sept. 25 (pre-orders are available now).