Soul food recipes come from the earliest inhabitants of the Caribbean islands. They were the three Indian tribes of Arawak, Carib, and Taino. Their daily food comprised of vegetables and fruits. It was the Taino tribe that first started cooking meat and fish, using large clay vessels.
The Arawaks used a different method. They used thin strips of green wood to cook meat more slowly and allowing it to absorb the flavor of the wood. The wooden grate they used was called barbacoa. This is where the term barbeque comes from.
Not to be left behind, the Carib tribe made their fish and meat recipes really spicy by adding pepper sauces, lime, and lemons. In fact, the Caribs are credited with having cooked the first pepper pot stew. The last of the above three has had a tremendous impact on Caribbean food.
This should not be surprising because the Caribbean Sea was named after this tribe. Caribbean soul food recipes are still representative of the food that was originally eaten by the early inhabitants. It includes okra, fish cakes, callaloo, ackee, salt fish, pudding, souse, cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, plantains, and mangoes.
The concept of jerk cooking also originated in the Caribbean. Early African hunters would often leave their homes to go on long hunts. They would take with them pork cooked in a very spicy recipe over hot coals.
In the post slavery era, Indian cooking culture was introduced into Caribbean soul food recipes and still remains an active part of the Caribbean cuisine. Most of the curried meats and curry powder recipes that are found today are directly derived from original Indian cuisine.
Rice was introduced to the Caribbean by the Chinese and is now a staple. The Chinese also unleashed mustard on the islanders while the Portuguese sailors did the codfish. Most of the fruit trees that are familiar to the visitors to the island were actually brought here by the Spainish.
This included orange, ginger, lime, figs, plantains, sugar cane, tamarinds, grapes, and coconuts. America brought with it the various beans, squash, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and chili pepper. In fact, some of these foods spread to the rest of world through the Caribbean.
Caribbean cuisine is truly a mix of several cooking styles from all over the world. It retains much of the original culinary skills of the islands native inhabitants. If you are bored with what you eat daily Caribbean food will cure that.
If you do not have time to go on a lengthy Caribbean vacation then bring the beaches and the sunshine right into your home through your kitchen using a Caribbean recipe. These are but a few reasons why Caribbean food is so unique and creative. Flavors from all over the world have found a home in Caribbean food through countless generations and the flow of history.