Tin of 'Sunrite Ackees'
1991-94. ID number SC355/92
Hubert, like many, came to the UK as part of the call to rebuild post-war Britain. With him he brought his rich Afro-Caribbean heritage, including some delicious food dishes. ‘Yes I like ackees’ he says, responding to a tin of Sunrite ackees bought in Safeways, Islington, and imported from St Catherine, Jamaica, which forms part of our collection. ‘When I came here there were a couple of West Indian shop keepers. They used to import things and sell it to us… If there’s anything you want from Jamaica then they’d import it. So I could eat ackees and saltfish, the national dish of Jamaica.’
Hubert worked as a farmer in Jamaica and goes on to speak fondly of his experience of cooking at his farm in Jamaica. ‘When I was on the farm in Jamaica I used to cook – what we call bush cooking. Peel your potato, banana, whatever, and put it in there, and a big hunk of pork and leave it to cook…and while you’re working it’s there cooking. And you’d never bring plates from home to share it out…you’d use banana leaves!’
Hubert’s first encounter with work in London however was not so favourable. ‘I can remember when I came to London,’ Hubert continues, ‘and my niece’s husband took me to the labour exchange in Edgeware Road. The man turned around and said to me that there are no jobs for famers.’ He laughs ‘the man said if I needed help money-wise, he said that my friend could help me out! That was what I met at the labour exchange on my first outing in London.’ You can listen to more of Hubert’s story of his migration to London and tasty tales of food heritage in our podcast From Curry to Carnival.