I love food, not so much cooking, but if I do. I usually have a cookbook to hand, and this one supports a charitable cause so what more could I want?
“This Cookbook Belongs To Us”, compiled by Bearwood and Kings Heath Action for Refugees, brings you stories of food – of making, sharing and enjoying – to show the importance of welcome, friendship, tolerance and love for refugees in our community. The book is dedicated to all the people who call Birmingham and Smethwick home, and to those fleeing their homes and seeking refuge in new ones.
Birmingham and Smethwick have welcomed those escaping conflict and persecution since the early 19th Century, offering sanctuary to individuals and families. Fostering a culture of welcome and extending a hand of friendship to those forced to flee their homes, where it is most deeply needed. The region is home to individuals and families from Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central America.
This Cookbook Belongs To Us is a collection of recipes; from Birmingham to Damascus, each with a different and personal story behind it. It is for everyday home cooking but can also be used to find inspiration for those special occasions – rustle up a quick post-school/work dinner with Mujadarah, Arabian Buttered Eggs for a lazy Sunday brunch, creating “The Best Lamb in Ethiopia” for a dinner party with friends, or baking up some delicious Syrian Toffee Apple Cake for a special birthday treat or just plain old elevenses (any day!).
Food plays a vital and powerful role in migration and in welcoming new communities. The familiar smells and tastes of a favourite dish providing comforting replenishment – a reminder of cultural ties to home but also a potent way of connecting with new and undiscovered places and in constructing new identities.
The sharing of new tastes, ingredients and techniques cannot be seen more clearly than in Birmingham and the Black Country. They have diverse, multi-cultural neighbourhoods with many different communities and with a wealth of ingredients and cuisines available locally in supermarkets and restaurants: from fine dining (Birmingham has no less than five Michelin starred restaurants) to street food and cafés celebrating cuisines from South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and beyond.
The book can be pre-ordered online now:
the book will be available to buy from 25 November from a range of stockist across Birmingham and the Black Country and will be sold at craft fairs in time for Christmas. The pre-order cost is £10 (£12.50 afterwards) with all profits going towards the Aegean Solidarity Network and the vital projects they support.
The official Kings Health launch will take place at ENKI gift shop, (Kings Court, B14 7JZ) on the 5th December, 10am – 5pm where you can sample sweet treats from the book and festive refreshments; there’ll be some fun crafts for the children too. The Bearwood launch will be on the 2nd December, 7.30pm – late, at the charity Barn Dance at the Corks Club (Bearwood High Street, B66 4BT). Tickets can be purchased on the door (£5 / £2.50 concessions) for a night of fundraising, fun and Flying Scotsmen, featuring The Ceilidh Band. All money raised goes towards supporting refugees.
ACTION FOR REFUGEES
Bearwood and Kings Heath Action for Refugees were set up in September 2015 in response to the current crisis and are part of the Action for Refugees network. They are volunteer-led groups engaging local individuals, groups and schools in helping refugees and asylum seekers through fundraising, awareness raising and advocating for refugees locally. They fundraise for the Aegean Solidarity Network and proceeds of this book will support refugees in transit through the grassroots projects they fund.
For more information visit https://actionforrefugees.org
AEGEAN SOLIDARITY NETWORK
Aegean Solidarity Network Team UK (ASN), a UK registered charity, launched in September 2015 after witnessing first hand the desperate plight of refugees and people fleeing conflict arriving on the Greek island of Leros. The group is dedicated to supporting all people escaping life threatening conflict landing in Greece by supporting safe places to stay, safe spaces to talk, provisions of food, dry clothes, and education amongst many other needs.
The ASN team are passionate about what they do and have all spent time working “in the field” or have been involved in refugee support extensively since summer 2015.
Funded solely by donations, ASN seek out volunteer-run initiatives. They ensure that the projects they support are volunteer run so that donation has maximum positive impact in supporting refugees.
For more information visit the website https://asnteamuk.org/