From pre-Columbian times to the present, Jamaica has been a melting pot of many cultural differences. Nowhere is this better reflected than in the wonderful food of this vibrant island nation. The Africans, Spanish, English, Indians, Asians, Arawwaks (the inhabitants of the island when Columbus landed), and others have all had an influence on Jamaican cooking. Out of this wonderful mix of foods, spices, and cultures has come an array of tempting dishes as lively as the people of Jamaica themselves.
Jamaican cooks often improvise on a basic recipe, and their intuitive fel for quantities, taste, texture, and timing is passed on in a strong oral tradition from one generation to another. Yvonne Sobers brings us the essence of this tradition through her historical and cultural perspective on Jamaican cuisine.