Saudi national Rasha Al-Hejailan, spent the majority of her life living abroad due to the nature of her father's work. She was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, spent her teenage years in Australia, then studied in the UK and took a year off in Denmark.
Now 28 years old, Al-Hejailan is settled in Kuwait with her husband and two children. "I am a true believer of the saying “home is where the heart is,” but I undoubtedly lost touch with a lot of friends and relatives throughout my life abroad. I finally decided to do something about it, which is when my project was born," she says.
That project is her self-published cookbook entitled The Women in My Life.
The author contacted all the significant women in her life, including friends and family, and asked them to donate their ‘signature’ recipe to publish in her book. What resulted was a collaborative sort of book in which Rasha and the women who mean something to her, share something special with the author, and consequently the public.
In the first half of the book are the author's recipes, which include a short background story about what that particular dish means to her. The second half of the book features recipes from the women in Rasha's life. She describes it as a recipe journal, more than a conventional cookbook. The entire book was written, photographed, edited, and designed by Al-Hejailan herself.
Unlike most cookbooks, this one is not as professional or as high quality as one might expect. But that was the author's intention in the first place. "I decided to take care of the editing and photography myself and keep it true to the initial intention, an amateur recipe journal with delicious and simple every day recipes cooked by the average woman. It has a personal touch whereby you feel like you know the owner of the recipe," says Al-Hejailan.
The author realized that the whole process was turning into something more complex than her initial intention. "Throughout the process I would get back in touch and learn new things about the women. What started as a pure and innocent attempt turned into something bigger that I felt I needed to take further and use for a good cause."
That good cause comes in the form of donating part of the book’s proceeds to causes for children. She is donating part of her sales to Helping Hands KSA, a charity in Saudi Arabia that directly supports underprivileged children, and to a newly established pediatric care department at Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) in Kuwait.
To order the book: For Kuwait inquiries contact (+965) 55172762; For KSA inquiries contact (+966) 546470503. The book is also available at Areej Art Cafe, Centria Mall, Riyadh, KSA.
– Khaleejesque Staff