Thursday, May 27

Food and Love

Sorry for the late post from this side of the Pond, dear readers! My excuse is that I was at the London Book Fair a few weeks ago, and it resulted in me running with some of my other writing projects (which needed a leg up the ladder) for a while. But I did come away with something very interesting to tell you about!

The London Book Fair is an annual publishing trade show. As yours truly is currently writing a novel, I went along to see what I could absorb that'd help with that. Sadly, I found that the industry is bent on keeping as many people out of it as possible. All day I listened to complaints about too many books being published, how not everyone who thinks they can write should, that technology is democratising the literary craft, etc. etc. As I wandered around the aisles of the exhibition after listening to a particularly energy-sapping talk, I was surprised to hear warm tones from home - a Malaysian accent speaking over a microphone from somewhere nearby, accompanied by the smell of frying shrimp paste. I had homed in on a cooking demonstration!

Chef Wan, a celebrity chef with his own talk show in Malaysia, was presenting Solidarity Sports, an English charity that works with disadvantaged children, giving them a chance to be involved in team sports and ... cooking! It all started, apparently, when they tried to get the kids to make their own sandwiches, instead of having to bring food from home when they came for sports training. Tapping on the international background of their students and volunteers, Solidarity Sports eventually gathered enough recipes from around the world to put together a cook book: World of Flavours.

And what a different message I was hearing in this corner: one of inclusion, sharing and, most of all, love. Chef Wan rattled on, entertaining the audience as the young crew from Solidarity Sports whipped up a Brazilian fish stew with shrimp paste, one of the international dishes featured in World of Flavours. He spoke of the charity's good work, and talked of his own experience of helping others in his community, and how the Universe liked "positive-energy people" spinning in it, raising the world's energy level. And I found myself thinking: yes, this is such a different approach to life from what I witnessed earlier - to share your knowledge and experience, to use it to help others, rather than jealously guarding your industry secrets and know-how, hoping no one ever makes it as good as you or better, and discouraging them from trying.

So, thank you, Chef Wan and Solidarity Sports, for cheering me up that day and giving me hope again. You guys are positive-energy people spinning in the Universe, and Cinnamon and Truffle wish you all the best!

Visit if you'd like to watch a video with excerpts from the cooking demo I saw, or if you'd like more information on Solidarity Sports or their book, World of Flavours.




Girl said...

That is great - I will surely look for the book.

When we were in Cambodia - Phnom Penh our travel agent suggested we should go to 'Friends Restaurant' for lunch. Friends Restaurant is part of Mith Samlanh, an organization that helps street children. The whole idea is to train these kids, give them a trade and a skill and give them independence for life.

The food was just amazing, and the place absolutely great. I still have the cook book from them but have to admit I have not tried any recipes yet.

Cinnamon and Truffle said...

Dear Girl,

We would love to get a recipe of one of the dishes you enjoyed at the restaurant! Any chance?



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