West African Cuisine: A Delight for Vegetarians The extreme climate variations in West Africa—including desert, semiarid or Sahel, savanna, and tropical forests—combined with its geography, has created a diverse array of cuisine cultures. Beyond that, West Africa was the region most affected by the slave trade of the 1700s and 1800s and also by European and American culture over the following years. Conversely, the slave trade spread West African cooking concepts and traditions more rapidly around the world than other types of African cuisine. For example, the tomatoes, corn, plantains, peanuts, and chili peppers common in many West African recipes were brought to the area by slave traders and ex- plorers. At the same time, slave ships then carried African foods, such as black- eyed peas and okra, back to Europe and America, and the slaves brought their food traditions with them.

A plate of jollof rice is seasoned with chilies and tomatoes.

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