WORLD Vision Australia has partnered with local and global culinary royalty to produce Hunger Bites, a free e-book of main meal recipes designed to cost no more than $14 while highlighting the 41 million people driven to starvation by the pandemic.
From Maggie Beer’s fish and crispy potatoes to Marco-Pierre White’s spaghetti carbonara, Hunger Bites aims to help Australian’s dish up affordable meals while sparing a thought about putting food on the tables of others less fortunate.
A mortal mix of conflict, climate change and COVID-19 are driving communities towards the most significant hunger emergency in decades, with Afghanistan and East Africa bearing the brunt.
Maggie Beer AM, a committed World Vision child sponsor, said she felt moved to join the campaign and help raise awareness of the child hunger crisis.
“We are indeed the lucky country and are blessed with so many fresh, wonderful ingredients in Australia,” Ms Beer said.
“It saddens me to know that in some countries, families can’t afford even basic food items such as corn or rice.
“No child should ever go hungry.”
World Vision CEO Daniel Wordsworth said he was overwhelmed by the wave of support from such a stellar line-up of chefs and cooks, including Nagi Maehashi and Stephanie Alexander, amongst others.
“My heartfelt thanks go to these generous contributors for sharing our vision for a cookbook to support fellow human beings in a time of great need,” Mr Wordsworth said.
“When you put Hunger Bites to use, you not only put food on your own table, you help World Vision… make the world a better place.”
The cookbook contains facts about the global hunger crisis, which he hopes could trigger the home cooks and families to talk about and take action on the issue.
Multi-award-winning chef Neil Perry AM, also a World Vision child sponsor, contributed to Hungry Bites as another way to support the charity.
“We are in an incredibly privileged position to work with the best produce in the country, but there are so many people who struggle day to day just to put food on the table,” Mr Perry said.
“I’ve always felt a responsibility to give back; that’s one of the reasons I first sponsored a child many years ago.”
He said it was tough to draw Australians’ attention to global issues during a pandemic while dealing with personal concerns, such as lockdowns and job losses.
“We’ve got our own problems in Australia, so it’s more difficult to generate the awareness that there are places in the world that really need a helping hand from countries like ours,” he said.
“I always call for us to be more politically active around the world and set an example, whether it’s on sustainability or climate change or famine.
“We have an opportunity to be shining lights… and I think we need to shout out to Australians to do what they can.”
Suzy Crittenden, Melbourne food, wine and cooking aficionado, is a big fan of Neil Perry owning all his recipe books.
“Hunger Bites sounds fantastic, Neil Perry’s recipes always work, plus I like the fact that it is supporting a great cause,” she said.
Ms Crittenden and her husband often dined at Adam D’Sylva’s restaurants before lockdown.
“I love his food; I am very excited to see what recipes he and Neil and the rest of the gang have come up with for this new and innovative cookbook.”
Sydney siders Luke Mangan and Luke Nguyen plus Melbournites Darren Purchese, Ed Halmagi, television presenter Alice Zaslavsky and MasterChef 2021 champ Justin Narayan are just some of the foodie contributors to Hunger Bites.
Childhood bears the most significant impact of the hunger crisis as parents marry their daughters off early or send their children out to work.
World Vision workers state some people are surviving on little more than herbs, roots and rodents they have foraged and hunted.
Mr Wordsworth added that most Australians would agree that no parent should suffer the anguish of having their child go to bed hungry or become too weak to play.
“Right now, too many parents and caregivers are trying to provide food while suffering extreme hunger themselves,” he said.
“We want this book to provide some food for thought about how everyday Australians can help to avert this crisis.
“If we only act once famine is declared, it is too late; people are already dying.”
To download a copy of Hunger Bites and find out how you can support World Vision’s Child Hunger Appeal logon to www.worldvision.com.au/hungerbites