The Duchess of Sussex lent her voice to a new charity cookbook, penning the foreword for Together: Our Community Cookbook and soon opening her home for the launch party. Meghan worked with women she first met this past January, who had created the Hubb Community Kitchen after the Grenfell Tower fire to nourish their families. In the beautifully written introduction, the 37-year-old speaks not only about her experiences at the kitchen but also some of her favourite foods - and one in particular stems from her time in Canada!
"One of my own favourite meals is collard greens, black-eyed peas cornbread - a meal I would look forward to throughout my childhood" Meghan says before describing the mouthwatering nuances of the dish. "The smell of yellow onions simmering amongst a slow-cooked pot of greens from my grandma's back garden; the earthy texture of peas; and a golden loaf of cornbread puff-puffing away to a browned peak in the warmth of the oven."
The newlywed explained the context of the dish, each component of which has special meaning. "This was always eaten on New Year's Day, a tradition steeped in ancestral history where each component has a meaning: the black-eyed peas for prosperity, the greens for wealth, the cornbread for health and nourishment. It wasn't a new year's resolution, it was a wish. It wasn't simply a meal; it was a story."
Her travels have also influenced her favourite foods, and she says that time away from Los Angeles, her birthplace, has made certain recipes all the more special. "During my time at university in Chicago I would wait with bated breath to return to LA for the winter break and have a bowl of my mother's gumbo. And while living in Toronto (seven years of being adopted by that beautiful place for work), I embraced poutine and several other Canadian culinary favourites, but the Southern California girl in me always craved fish tacos, and the memory of eating hometown fare infused with a strong Mexican influence."
And don't doubt that the keen foodie picked up a few new favourites to add to her repertoire! "You should undoubtedly arrive [at the kitchen] on an empty stomach because upon departure you will have been stuffed to the gills with samosas flecked with cinnamon, chapatis flavoured with carrots and onion, Russian semolina cake, Persian teas and my favourite avocado dip that I now make at home."
This project was perfect for the duchess, who wrote extensively about culinary endeavours and discoveries on her former blog The Tig and says she's had a "lifelong interest in the story of food." Meghan worked with the women who were displaced from their homes and affected by the fire to produce the 50-recipe cookbook in the hopes that the kitchen will keep thriving and healing the community.
"Our hope is that within these pages you will find new recipes and family favourites that you can enjoy in your own homes, because these recipes aren't simply meals; they are stories of family, love, of survival and of connection."