Cookbook celebrating Windrush generation now available in Hackney libraries
Hackney’s Windrush cookbook, collated as part of an inter-generational baking project to encourage the handing down of traditional Caribbean recipes, is now available in libraries across the borough and copies will be preserved in Hackney Archives. The book will also be available to order through our Community Library Service, for those who are unable to access local libraries due to illness or disability.
The cookbook, which was launched at Hackney’s second Windrush Tea Party on 22 June, features recipes collated from two inter-generational baking sessions. The events, held at local community kitchen Made in Hackney and the newly opened Gascoyne 2 Community Hall, were lead by Hackney celebrity chef and Great British Bake Off Star, Liam Charles.
During the sessions, held as part of Hackney Council’s wider Windrush Generation Festival programme, both Windrush elders and their descendents bonded through sharing traditional recipes from across the islands, including sweet potato pudding, plantain tarts and duckanoo, with the bakers’ age span ranging from 8 years old to 91 years old.
The sessions were attended by Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources, who was appointed the first cabinet member in the UK with a Windrush-specific brief on the eve of National Windrush Day.
This project wasn't just about baking. It was about remembering a generation of pioneers whose lives traversed the globe. The tastes, the smells and stories I heard throughout the course of the two-day project reminded me of the Caribbean's rich history and one bite of the duckanoo transported me back to my childhood. These are memories that will live with me.
Also in attendance was Deputy Mayor, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, who enjoyed baking Barbadian Sweetbread with Windrush elder, Elsie Chapman, 91.
Elsie said: “I don’t bake often because now I only bake for myself. Usually if I do bake anything, I like to give it away to people. Sharing is a part of me, I love sharing. Sometimes, when I make food for my children, if they don’t take it the same day I will give it to someone else. I think today was lovely - a lovely idea that people get together and share.”
As well as sweet treats such as coconut drops and rum and wine-soaked black cake, the cookbook also features several recipes that reflect the Rastafarian plant-based ital diet, and are free from refined sugar.
The Council’s Cultural Development Team developed the idea for the project following feedback from attendees of Hackney’s inaugural Windrush Tea Party, held in Hackney Town Hall last year, who wanted a way to pass on their skills and knowledge to the younger generations.
Rhianna Ali-Balogun, 15, from Stoke Newington said: “I’m from Grenada, Trinidad, Jamaica and Nigeria. Today I met a lady called Beryl and I helped make Jamaican coconut drops. So far I’ve enjoyed myself though because I like to bake at home. I like to make cakes!”