Our mother’s kitchen has always been the soul of our home. The long, wooden table, with my mother at its head, was the centre of endless dinner parties, birthday celebrations, family meals, and cups of tea served with a slice of cake and sprinkle of sage advice from my mother’s spring of wisdom. My mother made space in our home for everyone, she had the patience to listen, she had the heart to empathise and she had a hug that could heal almost anything. There were always people seeking her attention and love and she made herself available, she offered her heart and home, with only one non-negotibale condition- no-one left without a meal. She is the creator of the Social Kitchen, its namesake and raison d’etre.
My mother suffered a multitude of serious and complicated illnesses but she refused to be defined by ill-health. She defied the odds more times than I can remember and she lived so much longer than the doctors predicted because she chose life, every day, for so many reasons. She spent memorable Summers in Spain, when she was told she wouldn’t even make the journey, she made dinner arrangements from her hospital bed, inviting friends to her room for a meal and she sang songs Fidler on the Roof all the way through harrowing physiotherapy sessions. She did this because she knew the value of life and indulged in the gift of every miraculous moment.
My mother taught me all of this. I can cook, because she showed me how to cook with love, I can sew and create, because she showed me how to make something beautiful from nothing, I can entertain because she showed me how important it is to have an open home and I can love, because she loved, hopelessly and infinitely. She also gave me her recipes and I did what she would have done: created a gorgeous charity cookbook with the purpose of healing others.
This project honours her. It is her recipes based on her life principles: eat delicious food, make it look beautiful and share it with the people you love the most while always remembering others.
All proceeds of the book will be donated to charity.
(The Dermatitis and Allied Diseases Research Trust)