Every island of the Caribbean has its own character and so not surprisingly does the food from their kitchens. Indeed when Christopher Columbus first arrived in the Carribean he is said to have remarked that he saw so many islands he hardly knew which to go to first. So variety is the spice of life in Caribbean cooking. It is a delightfully eclectic blend of tastes and textures, influenced by ingredients and cooking techniques from Europe, Asia and Africa; a diversity born out of the mixture of races - Chinese, Portuguese, British, Indian, Amerindians and Africans whose travels and histories are the heart of the Caribbean. The essence of good Caribbean cuisine is in using fresh vegetables and fruit, and seasoning meats and fish in herbs and spices. Rosamund Grant's introduction to this cuisine presents recipes for traditional dishes as well as some created using ideas and ingredients borrowed from other cultures.