ABSTRACT

Father Jean-Baptiste Labat, a plump Dominican priest, sailed from France to the island of Martinique at the end of the seventeenth century. Once in the Caribbean, he investigated the soil, local plants, and foods, eventually establishing a sugar works that relied on slave labor. By the time he returned to Europe more than a dozen years later, Labat had traveled to many of the Dutch, French, Spanish, and English islands of the Antilles, sampling the foods of each place. He gathered his information in an eight-volume series on the Americas. His works were translated into many European languages and became something of the equivalent to a runaway best seller. Caribbean culinary tourism was born.