A new cookbook, 'Soup for Syria,' aims to help food relief efforts for Syrian refugees

Yesterday I was thrilled to find a review copy of a new cookbook, one that will appeal to just about every border-free cook I know, in my mailbox.  Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate our Shared Humanity collects recipes by Alice Waters, Yotam Ottlenghi and Sami Tamini, Paula Wolfert, Claudia Roden, Mark Bittman, Greg Malouf, Anthony Bourdain and many more. All of them are for soup, and proceeds of the book go to the Soup for Syria project, a humanitarian campaign that aims to ease the suffering of 3.8 million refugees by delivering food and foodstuffs to refugee camps. 

A photograph of a girl in a refugee camp faces a recipe for gondi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

A photograph of a girl in a refugee camp faces a recipe for gondi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Barbara Abdeni Massaad, a Beirut-based food writer and photographer, collected the recipes for the collection and photographed the people who are living in the camps. The project started when she was visiting a camp just 45 minutes from her home in the Bekaa Valley "where Syrian families crowd into plastic tents and children die of cold and hunger," as she writes in her introduction. "I try to sleep and ignore this reality, but it's impossible. I am not immune to the suffering of others."

The photos are beautiful; the people in them – particularly the children – are gorgeous. 

And the recipes, many of them simple, look wonderful. I've already put Post-its on a bunch I want to make (of course I'll share them with you once I do!). I have my eye on a recipe from Ottolenghi and Tamimi for Gondi, a Persian chicken soup with dumplings made from ground chicken and chickpea flour. Greg Malouf's recipe for fennel soup with lemon and cinnamon looks great, too. As does Paula Wolfert's recipe for lentil and Swiss chard soup (it's vegan!). Soup seems just the thing to cook for such a cause, as it's nourishing and nurturing.

Of course I'll share the soups with you once I make them, but thought you'd want to know about the project right away so you can help. The $30 book can be ordered through the Soup for Syria website.  The site also offers other ways to get involved in the cause, such as hosting a soup party where you can sell the book or take orders for it.