I attended a lunch last week at the beautiful California home of my generous friend Stefanie.
We had the loveliest day and even better, it was for a great organization I knew nothing about, but now am excited to help...
Stefanie's friend, Lauri Pastrone is the one of the creators of Share, the cookbook of Women for Women International. Stefanie got the fun idea to have women from our community gather to hear more about this book and what WFW does while enjoying food from the book for lunch. Brilliant!
Women for Women helps women in war ravaged countries rebuild their lives with financial aid, job skills, education about human rights and emotional support.
Share is a beautiful cookbook that weaves the stories of some of these women who have been helped by WFW, with recipes from those areas and others contributed by chefs and humanitarians around the globe.
Those women who could, helped by making a dish from the cookbook to share. Stefanie sent copies around for a few salads, desserts and soups and 3-4 of us each made one of a selection of about 8 of the dishes.
This was nice as we got to try the food from the cookbook and know a little more about what kind of recipes were in it.
I was given Paul McCartney's Super Vegetable Salad.
First you boil small potatoes while steaming green beans, carrots, and broccoli above it.
You add all these when cooled to a bed of romaine and sliced cherry tomatoes.
The dressing is a mix of red wine, mustard, olive oil and a tiny bit of maple syrup that really makes the salad. It was so good and easy I made it the next night again for the family, but with more tomatoes.
A fantastic recipe for summer party.
I also made the orange scented, olive oil almond cake this weekend and it was a hit and easy as well.
Below is a version of it one of the ladies made. In my home interpretation I added almonds and home made whipping cream. It's so good my husband swore it had marzipan in it. It's a very moist and dense cake.
Stefanie in her pretty kitchen with just a few of the many yummy dishes we all brought and tried.
This recipe was Robin Wright's lettuce wraps and one of my favorites it was so delicious.
Whoever made this used 2 colors of lettuce and how gorgeous!
Some of the soups from the book.
Aren't they clever putting them in these little cubes bought at a party store?
We got to try a lot of delicious salads from this book!
Stefanie's backyard was set like a resort for this lunch. She is an effortless entertainer.
Stefanie talking to Lauri about the work getting this book made by a publisher willing to donate their profits...Wasn't easy, but they did it!
I was really moved by Lauri's story of how as a young mom, feeling alone, she began by sponsoring a woman. She shared a bit of one of the letters she received by one of the women she has sponsored over the years. It was tough to listen to what just this one women had been through.
The lives of women in these war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are hard to even imagine. Due to wars, they often have no real homes, are often married off at an unbelievably early age, and never given any skills or education.
When something happens to the husband or families, these women have no ability to earn and know nothing about their rights as women. They are often abused by family members. They have no life coping skills and usually many mouths to feed.
The wonderful thing about Women for Women is they operate right in the areas where these women live, and the programs are run by locals.
You can Support a Sister with a small $30 a month donation for one year. That allows her to participate in the one year program and she also gets some of that money to help her get on her feet.
Looking through the book many of us got to chat with Lauri, second from left, about the making of this cookbook. So many wonderful chefs like Jesse Cool, Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver as well as humanitarians like Livia Firth, Lauren Bush Lauren, Annie Lenox, Nelson Mandela and many more have contributed recipes. Not only is the food delicious and healthy, it's pretty simple. The book is just filled with gorgeous photos.
I especially liked reading the chapters on each country they help in. The book shows the statistics of women there and includes a personal story of a women in the program. Following that are also recipes from each region.
Purchasing a Share cookbook helps one women for a month. To sponsor a woman in one of these war-torn countries, who needs to rebuild her life, read more and sign up to help here.
Women for Women has a Facebook page where we can read more about what they are up to and also an Instagram where they share many of the inspiring women who are making a better life for themselves on it. The Women for Women International site has some terrific video about where they are working and who they are helping. I also loved how the website shows how helping women help themselves, creates lasting positive change in the world. Women make the world go round, and make huge difference when they have a voice in family and community decisions.
Just think what change we could make in the world by empowering and helping more women. If everyone who could afford it did it for a year, what a difference we can make. Women helping other women helps more women. They estimate for every women helped by this program, five more are also... It trickles down.
Thank you for letting me share this wonderful organization with you. I love Women for Women's idea that we are all in this together as women and by helping each other we make a better world for us all.
Thank you Stefanie Nelson, for generously opening your home and having the idea for this. Hopefully, others will follow your lead and even more women can find out about WFW!
Lauri Pastrone, thank you for sharing your passion for helping women with this inspirational book!