A new recipe book with contributions from dozens of chefs – including Anthony Bourdain (soupe au pistou), Yotam Ottolenghi (Gondi) and Slow Food International Vice President Alice Waters (carrot soup) – has been launched to raise money to provide urgently needed food relief for Syrian refugees.
The idea of the book, Soup for Syria, was concocted by Barbara Abdeni Massaad – author, photographer, founding member of Slow Food Beirut and delegate of the international Terra Madre network – and Michel Moushabeck, publisher and editor at Interlink, the book’s publisher in the US.
Camped just a stone’s throw from Massaad’s home in Beirut, Lebanon, are over half a million Syrian refugees. Pained by their plight, she spent last winter visiting the camp, armed with the ingredients to prepare soup, and cook for around 50 families.
As Moushabeck explained, Massaad’s original idea eventually developed into a compilation of contributions – each one a soup recipe – from over 80 cooks and authors:
“There are four million refugees and the international community has largely abandoned them. I was convinced that if we could get celebrity chefs to donate soup recipes then we have a good chance at selling a huge number of copies throughout the world.”
All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and will go directly towards funding food relief.
According to Angelina Jolie, special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “There is a great temptation to turn inward, to focus on our own troubles. But the plain fact is we cannot insulate ourselves against this crisis.”
Slow Food President Carlo Petrini reiterated this sentiment: “We are all called upon to build bridges, and this book is there to connect us with the most vulnerable.” And, for some at least, there may just be a crumb of momentary comfort in knowing that, as Anthony Bordain puts it, “Soup is elemental, and it always makes sense, even when the world around us fails to.”
You can buy the book here
Learn more about the project here: www.soupforsyria.com