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Caribbean Culinary History

Curried Yucca Crab Cakes, recipes below
The Ciboney were a nomadic band of hunters and gatherers who most likely migrated from South America. Historians believed that they represented perhaps the oldest of the tropical forest belt-islanders; the warlike Carib arrived last in the Caribbean. By 1500, their military conquest absorbed all the Arawakan communities of the eastern Caribbean islands. Because they traditionally obtained wives from the Arawak their foodways are similar to the Arawak. The Arawak, whose communities extended from the Bahamas to the coast of Venezuela, were the most advanced of the tropical forest belt-islanders. They co-existed with the Ciboney in some parts. But the greatest concentration of the Arawak inhabited the larger Caribbean Islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. They were a sedentary coastal farming society. Arawak women planted and harvested the fields and prepared the food. The women all three groups of the tropical forest belt-islanders carried out the task of cooking. The Arawak had a diet of potatoes, sweet cassava (also called yucca), corn, peanuts, peppers, beans, and arrowroot. But in general the islanders enjoyed vegetables, fruit, and fish. They seasoned their food with generous amounts of chili and allspice (pimento on Jamaica). They also used annatto seeds to color and flavor oils and sauces.

Coconut Black Bean Stew Recipe:

New Years Eve Through the Lens of Food

Christmas in Harlem During the Great Depression