Caribbean food has gone through a fusion process more intricate than many areas of the globe. Its role in the spice trade, and its location as a central stopping ground for Spanish, British, French, Dutch, African, Indonesian, and Chinese travelers, has shaped the current cuisine of the islands. Ingredients from surrounding areas (such as Jamaica, Mexico, and Cuba) are also woven into the dishes. The islands were originally inhabited by the Arawaks and Caribs, two Native American tribes. The Caribs have been credited with introducing chile peppers to cooking to spice up their food. The Arawaks used native green sticks, called “barbacoa,” to grill food—and, thus, began modern barbecue techniques. These cooking methods were used with native and cultivated crops of yams, corn, cassava, peanuts, taro root, guavas, pineapple, black-eyed peas, and lima beans. Later, Columbus introduced sugarcane (rum!), and was followed by other European colonists that introduced coconut, chick-peas, cilantro, eggplant, onions, garlic, oranges, limes, mangoes, rice, coffee, okra, pigeon peas, plantains, breadfruit, and ackee. Other regional additions include: potatoes and passion fruit from South America, and papaya, avocado, chayote and cocoa from Mexico. Keeping these influences in mind, you can see how hard it is to define Caribbean cuisine. Through the years, most spices made their way through the islands and were incorporated into the food. Likewise, most fruits and chile peppers that grow in the Western hemisphere have been adopted. The following list includes many ingredients commonly used in Caribbean cooking.