The earliest colonists - Spanish and Portuguese - imported the meat and milk animals of the Old World and pigs and chickens were introduced throughout Latin America; cattle became common in the Argentinean pampas and sheep populated Patagonia. Of course the Aztec and Mayan civilisations in Central America and the Inca empire of Peru defended their territories but, as the invaders brought in slave labour from Africa, their influence declined. Gastronomic colonisation took place for economic reasons - coffee thrives in Brazil, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, all manner of citrus fruits, as well as grapevines for the winemakers of Chile and Argentina, are common today.
Added to the indigenous ingredients such as cassava, maize, chocolate and vanilla, there is a profligacy of roots, tubers, fruits and vegetables whose taste and culinary virtues are explored in this rich introduction to the cooking of Latin America. Regional specialities include roast meats made fiery with chilli, egg-custards made with pineapple juice, ices perfumed with vanilla and chocolate, Old World recipes for papaya, pine-strawberry, guava, passion fruit. . .
The Latin American Kitchen is a source book and an inspiration. It details how over 100 ingredients reach the kitchen and offers 200 tempting recipes to cook at home.