THE OTHER STUFF . . .

Meghan Markle Records a Special Video to Promote Charity Cookbook. Meghan Markle has cooked up something special. Kensington Palace announced that the Duchess of Cambridge has written the foreword for a new cookbook, featuring recipes from the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London. The 37-year-old royal first visited the kitchen in January and has continued to make private visits. "Together is a cookbook. But, it's also the story of a West London community who gathered together in a kitchen and discovered the healing power of sharing food. In January 2018, as I was settling into my new home of London, I met a group of women whose community had been affected by the Grenfell Fire. They had decided to get together to cook fresh food for their families and their neighbors. And so, for two days ever week, these women were able to cook and share their delicious recipes together. I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen. Like these women, I'm passionate about food and cooking as a way of strengthening communities," Markle says in a promotional video. "So, I am proud to be supporting this cookbook, Together, which features delicious recipes from the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen. The proceeds will allow the kitchen to stay open and to thrive so it can continue transforming lives and communities through cooking. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do." Proceeds from sales of the cookbook will allow the kitchen to remain open seven days a week. Supported by The Royal Foundation and published by Penguin Random House companies, Together: Our Community Cookbook showcases over 50 personal recipes from across the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. To celebrate its launch, the duchess will host a celebratory event -- with Prince Harry by her side -- Sept. 20 at Kensington Palace. Markle elaborates on her connection to the community kitchen in her foreword. "In 2017, I had watched the Grenfell Tower tragedy unfold on the news; I was in Canada at the time, sharing the global sentiment of shock and sympathy for what this community was enduring, while also deeply wanting to help," the former Suits star writes. "Fast-forward seven months, and I was set to meet some of the women affected by the fire, at a community kitchen in Al-Manaar. The kitchen was opened after the Grenfell tragedy, offering women who had been displaced and the community around them a space to cook food for their families. Their roles as matriarchs united them across their cultures; the kitchen provided an opportunity to cook what they knew and to taste the memory of home, albeit homes some had recently lost." Describing the atmosphere as "cozy and brightly lit," Markle writes, "The kitchen buzzes with women of all ages; women who have lived and seen life; laughing, chatting, sharing a cup of tea and a story, while children play on the floor or are rocked to sleep in their strollers." She advises arriving on an empty stomach, because afterward, "You will have been stuffed to the gills with samosas flecked with cinnamon, chapatis flavored with carrots and onion, Russian Semolina cake, Persian teas and my very favorite avocado dip that I now make at home." Most of all, "You will feel joyful in their company, and you will leave counting the days until you go back." Markle, who made food a focus of her now defunct blog The Tig, is all about "the story of food -- where it comes from, why we embrace it and how it brings us together: the universal connection to community through the breaking of bread. Within this kitchen's walls, there exists not only the communal bond of togetherness through sharing food, but also a cultural diversity that creates what I would describe as a passport on a plate: the power of a meal to take you to places you've never been or transport you right back to where you came from." One of Markle's favorite childhood meals included black-eyed peas, collard greens and corn bread. She especially loved "the smell of yellow onions simmering amongst a slow-cooked pot of greens from my grandma's back garden; the earthy texture of peas; and a golden loaf of cornbread puff-puffing away to a browned peak in the warmth of the oven. This was eaten on New Year's Day, a tradition steeped in ancestral history where each component has a meaning: the black-eye peas for prosperity, the greens for wealth, the cornbread for health and nourishment. It wasn't a new year's resolution; it was a wish. It wasn't simply a meal; it was a story." Later, as a student at Northwestern University, Markle longed for her mother's gumbo. While filming Suits in Toronto, she writes, "I embraced poutine and several other Canadian culinary favorites." But ultimately, she says, "The Southern California girl in me always craved fish tacos, and the memory of eating hometown fare infused with a strong Mexican influence." With the publication of Together, the duchess concludes, "Our hope is that within these pages you will find new recipes and family favorites that you can enjoy in your own homes, because these recipes aren't simply meals; they are stories of family, love, of survival and connection." (Eonline)

Leonardo DiCaprio Apparently Saved Cargo Shorts From Extinction and Raised Over $100 Million to Save the Planet. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation advocates for wildlife and environmental protection to help save animals and the planet, but apparently the organization's namesake prevented something else from extinction all on his own. That's right: Leonardo DiCaprio salvaged cargo shorts for all of mankind, according to Coldplay singer Chris Martin. The foundation just celebrated its twentieth anniversary and had a gala on Saturday night in Sonoma, Calif., which included a performance by Coldplay. Before Martin and his band began their set, the "Fix You" singer praised DiCaprio for his dedication to environmental and sartorial choices. Martin said, "I studied him very closely for about five or six years and what became clear to me was his unbelievable service, his commitment to the business of cargo shorts." He continued admiring the Inception actor's devotion to this one item of clothing. "This is a guy, he's seen cargo shorts and he said, 'I'm going to save these shorts from extinction. They should have gone out about 25 years ago. I'm personally going to fund the sort of renaissances of cargo shorts,'" Martin added. Perhaps DiCaprio really needed the extra pocket space. The intro was a perfect segue into Martin's original song about none other than...cargo shorts. Instagram user missy_ib shared the singer's intro to his new anthem in honor of DiCaprio. The Coldplay frontman also sang a cover of Celine Dion's classic song from Titanic "My Heart Will Go On." Cargo short salvation aside, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation's 20th anniversary gala was a star-studded event co-hosted by Laurene Powell, who was married to the late Steve Jobs. According to a release sent to E! News, the event included an art auction with pieces by renowned artists Ai Wei, David?Hockney, Wayne?Thiebaud, Frank?Gehry and more. Additionally, Dr. Jane Goodall joined the foundation's new independent board of directors. All the food from the event was sourced locally and used all renewable energy. DiCaprio and the foundation donated funds to help victims of Hurricane Florence, which has flooded many parts of North and South Carolina. DiCaprio told attendees, "When I founded LDF 20 years ago, I did so based on the simple idea that we could make a real difference by directly funding some of the most effective environmental projects �?whether it be individuals, grassroots movements or major nonprofits,?we wanted to focus on getting critical funding to those who could have the greatest impact." Last year, the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation donated $1 million to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. When he isn't raising money saving the planet, DiCaprio is playing a lead role in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The movie takes place in the late 1960s during the era of the Charles Manson murders. Fellow actors in Once Upon a Time include Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Damon Herriman as Manson, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Fromme and many more. (Eonline)

Pittsburgh Steelers Player Honors Mac Miller With Custom Cleats. Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner paid tribute to Mac Miller on Sunday by wearing cleats that featured the late artist's image and name. The special shoes showcased sketches of the rapper's face on both sides, as well as the phrase "Thank you Mac." The words "RIP MAC" also appeared on the footwear's tongues. Conner tweeted a picture of the cleats on Saturday ahead of the team's home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. "Thank you Mac," he tweeted. In addition to Conner's tribute, the team blasted Miller's hits from the speakers at Heinz Field. The Steelers lost the game with a final score of 37 to 42. However, this wasn't the first time the team honored Miller. The organization also tweeted a photo of him shortly after his death and wrote, "RIP Mac Miller. Thanks for being a great Steelers fan." As someone who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Miller was a lifelong Steelers fan. The "Self Care" star would squeeze in games when he wasn't on the road and even took part in game rituals, including waving the team's famous Terrible Towel. He also owned his fair share of jerseys and represented players like Ryan Shazier on his back. In addition, he once described the team's fanbase as the "greatest fans in the whole entire world." "It's the most important thing in my life probably. It goes Steelers first, always," he said in 2017 about making it back for games. "It's just incredible to feel the energy in the stadium and also be a part of it, you know? Do it whenever I can, man." Of course, he enjoyed sharing his love for his team with others. He even brought Ariana Grande to a game when they were dating. Miller passed away earlier this month at the age of 26. The authorities were called to the recording artist's home in Studio City, Calif. and he was pronounced dead at the scene. His cause of death has yet to be confirmed. Since his passing, several stars have paid tribute to the artist, including Grande, Lil Xan, Post Malone and Chance the Rapper. (Eonline)

Terry Crews Defends NFL Player Who Retired, Left Mid-Game of Chargers vs. Bills. Vontae Davis said he just could not go on, so he stopped. Vontae Davis of the Buffalo Bills made headlines on Sunday when he abruptly retired mid-game and did not come back to play the second half to face the Los Angeles Chargers. The cornerback said later that, after multiple surgeries and playing through injuries, he could no longer go on -- and it hit him while he was in action. "I meant no disrespect to my teammates and my coaches," he said in a statement. "But I hold myself to a standard. Mentally, I always expect myself to play at a high level. But physically, I know that isn't possible, and I had an honest moment with myself. While I was on the field, I just didn't feel right, and I told the coaches, 'I'm not feeling like myself.'" The decision shocked both fans and teammates. Reaction to the moment has been both strong and polarized. However, one person squarely in Davis' corner is Terry Crews. "So much respect. It's your life. Freedom is never popular but oh so necessary. Blessings to you @vontaedavis," tweeted Crews, who is a former NFL player-turned-actor and currently starring in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Crews took heat for his backing of Davis; being attack by those who felt the Bills' player quit on his teammates and flaked on his job. Crews did not waver. "So it's more dignified if they'd have cut him? It's not life or death. ITS A GAME," he responded to one criticism of his feelings. "If teams are free to cut, players are free to leave. No judgement," he wrote to another. Second-year Bills coach Sean McDermott declined to comment to reporters after the game concerning Davis' actions. The Bills lost the game, 31-20. (Hollywood Reporter)

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