A deep understanding of a culture comes from its cuisine. What you eat, how you cook it, how you share it with the people you love tells a story about who you are and where you come from. Lasagna, onion soup, shepherd’s pie, goulash, bliny ― each food is a pin on a sentimental map of family memories and national traditions. Sometimes, life circumstances forces us to leave vestiges of our heritage behind, but there is one ancestral connection, one ritual we keep performing every time we feel nostalgic and need to reconnect with our roots, and that is the preparation of our favorite comfort food.
For the 165 million children under five years old suffering globally from malnutrition, hunger will be the only memory. “Taking action on under-nutrition is the single most important, cost-effective means of advancing human well-being”, the Copenhagen Consensus has consistently confirmed. The reasons to increase our efforts to fight hunger around the world are too compelling: poor nutrition and stunting damage children’s physical and cognitive development, trapping them, their families, their communities, and the world as a whole, into a lifelong cycle of illness, poverty, and social inequity.
Hilary Gumbel assembled 40 world-class chefs to create a cookbook that benefits UNICEF, the United Nations program providing long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries since 1946. With a foreword by American actor, non-professional chef, and UNICEF’s first Goodwill Ambassador Danny Kaye, UniChef: Top Chefs Unite In Support Of The World’s Children (Glitterati, November 30, 2014) features celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, Giada De Laurentiis, Mario Batali, Sandra Lee, and Curtis Stone in a collection of international recipes that will appeal to your palate as well as your heart.
“When I was a young boy in Spain“, recalls Spanish chef Jose Andres, “I remember watching both of my parents cook. We rarely went to restaurants because we didn’t always have the money. So cooking was always a great part of our family. I remember that at the beginning of the month, when we had a little bit more money, we would cook more meats. But later in the month, we would get more vegetables, cheeses, and eggs from the markets and create more humble dishes. Funny enough, the end of the month was my favorite time of all. These were the dishes that were comforting to me. Huevos a la Cubana has been one of my favorite dishes since I was a child.”
Combining the Food Network stars’ delectable recipes (meat & eggs, pasta & grains, seafood, soups & salads, sweets, vegetarian) with personal stories that reveal their emotional and professional relationship with food, UniChef exposes readers to the diverse foods, tastes, and culinary customs of the world around them. And it can literally save lives. Hilary Gumbel, a consultant and advocate for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, is in fact donating one hundred percent of the royalties she would have received from the proceeds of the book to the U.S. Fund. Gumbel is a national board member of the U.S. Fund for Unichef since 2012. For the past ten years she has been a volunteer and, on behalf of UNICEF, she has traveled to Vietnam, Uruguay, Angola, Peru, Haiti, and Senegal to help analyze the progress of programs underway and identify what further initiatives can be taken by the Fund.