I have never claimed to be a “foodie”. I have usually viewed meals to be a inconvenient interruption, the same as when the car runs out of petrol and it’s time to refuel. In fact I could happily live entirely on avocado on toast and/or vegetable and noodle soup (Vietnamese style, preferably, served with lots of broccoli).
Of course I like tasty food, and obviously I really enjoy it as a way to learn about other places and cultures. But even while writing this I am struck by how lucky I am to even make the distinction between food as fuel and food for pleasure. Many people around the world are lucky to get a meal of charcoal-roasted yams, served with lots of dirt.
So this book caught my eye: it’s called Share and it is subtitled “The cookbook that celebrates our common humanity” (edited by Alison Oakervee, most photographs by Philip Webb). It features pictures, information and recipes from the war-torn parts of the world where the NGO, Women for Women International, operates. The book’s profits go to this very worthy organisation, which assists women who have survived armed conflicts in places like Rwanda, Kosovo and Iraq, by empowering them to manage and improve their lives.
The book also features recipes provided by many other well-known names. At first I gave a hearty side-eye to all the celebrity contributions, which include Paul McCartney and Richard Branson. Trudie Styler says in her introduction: “Sting and I spend as much time as we can at our home in Tuscany” and I struggle to find what I have in common with that. But I understand the need to have a “hook”.
A more thorough immersion in the pages made me realise that it’s the perfect cookbook for me. It features beautifully photographed food from far-flung places that makes me want cook in order to broaden my mind. And most conveniently, the majority of the recipes are designed to be everyday, nutritional family meals. Many of them look simple, tasty and not too complicated to prepare.**
For a non-foodie like me, that’s food heaven.
**I’ll report back here about my attempts