Soup For Syria

Soup For Syria

I received my copy of Soup for Syria a day before the terrorist attacks in Paris. In fact I was reading it when my iPad, which had been sitting quietly on my desk, lit up with the horrific news.

Holding this generous and comforting cookbook in my hands, I felt overwhelmed with helplessness and grief. Familiar feelings of 9/11 came sweeping back, along with such aching sadness for the Parisians. Only three weeks earlier did I return from spending a carefree month in that glorious city, living among its generous citizens. And now this.

But we are not helpless. There are small ways to support the many kinds of victims of the violence, including the four million Syrian refugees (half of them are under 18), now scattered across Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt in the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

Soup for Syria: A Celebration of Our Shared Humanity (Interlink Publishing, ©2016, 208 pages, hardcover with color photographs, $30.00) is part of an international initiative to help feed the Syrian refugees. The concept and purpose of this book is simple: dozens of chefs, food writers, and cookbook authors have each contributed a recipe for soup. Internlink Publishing, located in western Massachusetts, has taken its mission for "changing the way people think about the world" and put it into action. And author Barbara Abdeni Massaad has used her camera to juxtapose bowls of nourishing and satisfying soups with the faces of refugees who have lost everything, live in despairing conditions, and no longer even have a home to return to. 

I believe that when it comes to feeding the helpless and the hungry, politics has no place at the table.

You can buy the book directly from, at Amazon, and at many other bookstores. If you do, you will be able to create amazing flavors to feed not only yourself and your families but also many of Syria's refugees. 

That's because all the profits from the sales of the cookbook will be donated to the United Nation's refugee agency, UNHCR, and its food relief efforts (the acronym stands for United Nations High Commission For Refugees). You can read more about the Soup for Syria initiative and the UNHCR's program here.

Among the contributors to Soup for Syria are Greg Malouf, Anthony Bourdain, Yotam Ottolenghi, Alice Waters, Claudia Roden, Paula Wolfert, Chris Borunda, and many others. There are over 70 accessible recipes (and five stocks), from hearty hot winter soups to chilled summer ones, taken from cuisines from around the world, and accompanied by personal comments from contributors and gorgeous photographs of bowls of soup.

The recipes are organized in alphabetical order of the soup's main ingredient. For example:

And many more.

Can a bowl of soup be a bridge? Consider the words of contributors Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini:

"Soup is the ultimate comfort food: nurturing, sustain, and all good things. One recipe is a drop in the ocean but, if awareness of the plight of the Syrian refugees is raised with each batch made and shared, then that is a force for good. As well as being a delicious meal in and of itself."

Winter will soon be upon us. Isn't it time to make some soup?




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