Americans love foods inspired by Caribbean cuisines. For those of us living in the Southeastern United States, the islands of the Caribbean are fairly close. For example, the Bahamas begin just fifty miles off the shore of Florida. And don’t forget Cuba. The U.S. also has territories in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Fish and shellfish are abundant in the Caribbean, so many dishes include crab, lobster, conch, shrimp, and numerous varieties of finned fish. Meats, for the most part, are usually limited to pork, chicken, and goat. A wide range of vegetables, tropical fruits, rice, legumes, herbs, and spices complete the Caribbean food palate.
Many dishes in the South have a strong Caribbean influence. This is due to the fact that many slaves spent time on Caribbean islands before being shipped to Southern plantations. While the Africans were on the islands, they learned many cooking techniques and brought some of these with them to America. In turn, Southern whites learned numerous recipes and cooking techniques that had been born in the Caribbean.