Four hundred people donned their aprons and had their chef hats at the ready for a virtual cookalong with actress Maureen Lipman.
Joining the Coronation Street star were a host of personalities from different backgrounds, as part of Every Mitzvah Matters, an interfaith volunteering scheme organised by charity Mitzvah Day.
Among those taking part were Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Charley Baginsky and her daughter Eliana, Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer, Nisa-Nashim co-founder Julie Siddiqi and daughter Sumayah and Mitzvah Day Interfaith Advisor Rabbi Jeff Berger.
Partcipants could either follow Maureen’s special bean and barley soup recipe or make something of their own choice and were invited to gift the dish to a vulnerable or elderly neighbour, or an isolated family member who would appreciate a home-cooked meal.
Maureen made her soup for Niku, a Romanian neighbour and the caretaker of a desolate local hostel, long closed down. He can cook only by microwave and has few amenities and very little English.
She said: “Whenever the tetradactyls who circle my terrace decide to simultaneously dump on the top of my car, Niku gets out the power hose, thus allowing me to see through crusted windows.
“My rich protein layered soup is my thank you for his kindness and a recognition that life is not universally kind to everyone equally.”
Mitzvah Day founder and chair Laura Marks said: “There is something life-affirming about coming together to do good.
“In this crisis, particularly when we are isolated in our own homes, to congregate over a pan of vegetables felt so good.
“Knowing we are helping other people at the same time felt amazing.”
Twelve-year-old Samuel Segal of East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue, who is due to celebrate his barmitzvah in June, was one of many youngsters taking part.
He said: “The cook-along was so much fun and it was nice to ‘meet’ a celebrity in a virtual way. It also felt good to make something for my grandma, who recently returned from hospital, as she likes to try my creations!”
Other participants included Islamic religious advisor to the Chief of the Defence Staff, Imam Asim Hafiz, Bharti Tailor, former president of the Hindu Forum of Europe, Methodist minister Reverend Mark Pengelly, journalist Remona Aly, Union of Jewish Students president Esther Offenberg and Mitzvah Day chief executive Georgina Bye.
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