#CookForSyria: Jack Monroe

The stories behind the food and the people behind the hashtag.

An award-winning campaigner, columnist, and author, Jack Monroe donated four recipes to the #CookForSyria Recipe Book. These are some of the stories she shared alongside her recipes.

For Jack Monroe, the #CookForSyria project offered an opportunity she couldn’t refuse. “When I was asked to get involved with the Cook For Syria project,” Monroe says, “I agreed immediately. The premise was so simple, so generous, so altruistic, so at odds with the raging war and hateful rhetoric that permeated every conversation about one of the greatest humanitarian crises in our history. It was a project of love and support. As I started to put ideas together, I knew that I wanted to included roses as a symbol of that love.”

Monroe’s reference to roses is embedded in her recipe for Rose-Scented Rice Pudding where she bridges East and West with a classic ingredient and a hope for peace: “Rosewater is a classic Middle Eastern ingredient, and one that I use liberally in my own cooking whenever I feel like a gentle, luxurious moment of calm. In popular Western culture, we associate roses with love, and often the giving of roses is a proclamation of affection and appreciation.”

Alongside her contributions of a gentler Rose-Scented Rice pudding, Monroe donated a traditional mezze dish of Za’atar Mix & Flatbread, whose recipe is founded in a story of kindness and friendship: “I was introduced to za’atar by Yotam Ottolenghi, fingering through my well-loved copy of Plenty. Curious, I started to research it, found many a variation and started to put ingredients together. Months later, a good friend of mine, a reverend, invited me for dinner along with a Syrian migrant who was sleeping on her sofa until his Home Office paperwork was completed. As a gift, he had made her a jar of za’atar. It was he who taught me to toast the sesame seeds, and introduced me to another unfamiliar ingredient, sumac. Although there will be countless recipes for za’atar, this one always reminds me of the man with the kind eyes and the humble smile, now reunited with his family, thanks to the kindness of a stranger.”

Additional recipes donated by Jack Monroe and others can be found in the #CookForSyria Recipe Book, available for purchase on amazon.co.uk. All profits will be donated to aid children affected by the crisis in Syria.