Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Caribbean
An Embarrassment of Mangoes : A Caribbean Interlude
Published: January 13, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
With wit and candor, Vanderhoof, who's worked as a magazine and book editor, recounts her sometimes complicated but always enlightening two-year voyage from Toronto to the West Indies and beyond with her husband in their 42-foot
sailboat, Receta. As they escape the restraints that have bound them to their desks for years, the pair undergo not just a change in physical appearance (the noticeable weight loss is an unexpected bonus) but also a change in attitude. And although their
trip may sound terrific, it's no three-hour tour. Along with sunset cruises and afternoons spent on untouched beaches (where "you can sit and stare at the ocean for hours scarcely seeing another soul"), they encounter "blinding forks of lightning" during
a big squall, hailstones during an unpredicted hurricane and other tumultuous events. The book's strength undoubtedly lies in the way local cuisine and agriculture seep into Vanderhoof's tiny galley. While island hopping, she hunts for the freshest
mangoes, conch and papayas even if it involves trekking miles through uncharted territory. These long trips are always worth it, as the author befriends Grenadian and Bequian natives, learning how to reproduce scrumptious local fare. Vanderhoof excels in
painting a perfect picture of every island as well as filling in the gaps with historic explanations and authentic recipes, saving the book from becoming merely a flashback and steering it in the direction of a potential reference for those wishing to
exchange their Bud Lights for a case of Presidentes. Map not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Who hasn't fantasized about chucking the job, saying good-bye to the rat race, and escaping to
some exotic destination in search of sun, sand, and a different way of life? Ann Vanderhoof and her husband, Steve, did just that.
In the mid 1990s, they were driven, forty-something professionals who were desperate for a break from their
deadline-dominated, career-defined lives. So they quit their jobs, rented out their house, moved onto a 42-foot sailboat called Receta ("recipe," in Spanish), and set sail for the Caribbean on a two-year voyage of culinary and cultural discovery.
In lavish detail that will have you packing your swimsuit and dashing for the airport, Vanderhoof describes the sun-drenched landscapes, enchanting characters, and mouthwatering tastes that season their new lifestyle. Come along for the ride and
be seduced by Caribbean rhythms as she and Steve sip rum with their island neighbors, hike lush rain forests, pull their supper out of the sea, and adapt to life on "island time." Exchanging business clothes for bare feet, they drop anchor in sixteen
countries-forty-seven individual islands-where they explore secluded beaches and shop at lively local markets. Along the way, Ann records the delectable dishes they encounter-from cracked conch in the Bahamas to curried lobster in Grenada-from Dominican
papaya salsa to classic West Indian rum punch-and incorporates these enticing recipes into the text so that readers can participate in the adventure.
Almost as good as being there, An Embarrassment of Mangoes is an intimate account that conjures
all the irresistible beauty and bounty from the Bahamas to Trinidad-and just may compel you to make a rash decision that will land you in paradise.
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