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An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude Paperback – February 8, 2005

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An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude + A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean + The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (February 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767914279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767914277
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

What could be better than dropping all of life's mundane day-to-day activities and setting course for the adventure of a lifetime? In the mid-1990s, Steve and Ann Vanderhoof did just that when they packed up their belongings, put their careers on hold, rented out their home, and set sail for a two-year tour of the Caribbean. At the helm of a 42-foot sailboat, Ann and Steve travel more than 7,000 nautical miles and visit 16 countries, taking readers on a lively tour of the flavors, sights, and sounds of the Caribbean. Whether it's enjoying a meal with the locals, participating in festivities, or discovering the secrets of the islands, Ann writes of the rewards of living an uncharted life under the stars. Beautifully written passages transport readers to pristine beaches under azure skies. A detailed travelogue and an intimate portrait of self-discovery, this is a refreshing, soulful journey about rediscovering the things that really matter. Elsa Gaztambide
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

ANN VANDERHOOF is an award-winning writer and magazine and book editor whose work has appeared in publications including Gourmet, Islands, Sail, Outside, More, Explore, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star. She is an avid cook, traveler, sailor, hiker, kayaker, and scuba diver. Her first book, An Embarrassment of Mangoes, introduced readers to her life aboard the sailboat Receta.

Customer Reviews

This book is a fun, easy read.
Love the recipes and I had a great laugh several times in the book.
C. Casper
Great travel book about a couple sailing around the Caribbean.
H. O'Hollaren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By secret squirrel on April 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
`embarassment of mangoes' is much less a sailing book than a `wife's view' of a two-year vacation through the carribean. like plenty of sailing couples, ann vanderhoof does not really have the bug, and instead follows gamely along with partner on a toronto-carribean loop. she was the founder of `cottages', a modern magazine incarnation of the `house and garden' ilk, and the book is reads like a 200 page version of one of those chatty recipe article from `cruising world' or `coastal living': `we pulled into unknown Bay x after a horrid/delightful/tumultuous passage, and the next morning while drinking/walking/looking for parts, we fortuitously ran into authentic local fisherman/housewife/fellow sailing couple/non-profit organizer, who fed us amazing/delicious/tasty local x, and here is the recipe.' the peril of a dragging anchor is in this book is equal parts damage to the boat and the threat of upsetting the dinner guests; ms. vanderhoof's sense of adventure is heightened by the profound psychological growth of giving up her toronto hairdresser for two years. and on and on. for a girly-girl sailing adventure, there is precious little about their relationship, hubbie steve instead plays a background role as a sort of invisible lovable oaf. Ann is certainly a capable writer and the book flows along on an even if somewhat predictable and superficial keel, like a seamless dinner conversation with someone intent on subtly pushing their vacuous politically correct message points: we were authentic - we developed real friendships with the locals! we do care about the environment - we felt bad about tossing that old fishing net garbage back into the sea! it did seem like a shame to develop the old man's veggie patch into a resort!Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's a good read for these winter days, a nice, long, leisurely tour of the Caribbean islands over a couple of years, taken by sailboat. The food and drink recipes at the end of most chapters make it easy to travel along with the crew of the Receta-Ann and her husband Steve-by preparing for yourself the same cuisine they enjoyed. And, it's heartwarming to see them get along for the entire two years-there's no crisis, no threats of divorce, just a happy couple taking a long break and learning to see some of the nicer things in life.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ben on February 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a great book! Ann Vanderhoof gives a rich portrayal of the Caribbean that most of us never see, but surely want to.
An Embarrassment of Mangoes is infused with warmth, color, and flavor. As if the vivid descriptions of local markets (you can smell the fruit), ancient rum distilleries, and exploration via the local buses aren't enough, the variety of characters she meets bring the islands to life.
Best, Vanderhoof and her husband are easy to identify with. They took their midlife break on a sailboat. She relates challenges and experiences with a humor that non-sailors will enjoy, and a level of detail that I'm sure sailors will appreciate. But her trip is no near-death escapade. These are real people on an achievable adventure, doing something all of us could do. Vanderhoof steers us off the beaten path to sample real life, deftly capturing the local food, music, language and, most of all, the Caribbean spirit.
"Ann of a Thousand Deadlines" (as she calls her former self) never admits bravery, but her will to leave a good job and the comfort of everyday life for two years shows real courage. The book and its premise are compelling. The recipes at the end of each chapter are a bonus (my wife has already baked the Spicy Island Gingerbread).
I want to go. Now that I have read An Embarrassment of Mangoes, I feel I have gone.
As the review on the book cover says, "what travel writing is all about." Give this one an unarguable five stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Philip Sammarco on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I don't write a lot of reviews, but thought this book deserved more attention. Since reading it, after American Airlines thought enough of it to include excerpts in their magazine, I was intrigued by the stories of the islands, the people, the culture, the food and sailing the Caribbean (good weather and bad). First off, I love to travel to off-the-beaten path countries and I love to cook (and eat!) different cuisines. This book is perfect if you have these interests. It doesn't hurt that the author is a travel writer, but this is much more than a travelogue or cookbook. I don't like fiction so much, thus this is perfect non-fiction. Ann could not have possibly made up more interesting stories about the people and conducting life on the islands and the boat. I now have a yearning to visit Grenada, Trinidad and some of the other colorful islands. The author must have been concerned she was going to make Grenada more popular, but it probably was well on its way before her book. Good luck Ann! Thanks for sharing your adventure. Your storytelling and descriptive style paints a warm picture of wonderful people and places.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
First, this is not Mr. Junger's, "Perfect Storm" the epic of battling one of the worst storms in history or even similar to the "Dove" in which Robin L Graham sails singlehanded around the world. This is simply a book recounting the events of a couple who have done what many of us dream about...leaving the fast paced world behind for awhile and adapting to the world they enter.
I appreciate that it was Ann that wrote it as she shows her fears of overnight passages and weather reports. She not only talks about great food but gives so many receipes that it will take us all awhile to try them.
Overall, I appreciate this book mostly because Ann and her husband Steve didn't try to change those they came in contact with to what they were used to but rather adapted or more likely adopted the lifestyle of those around them. So many times when people travel to get away they bring everything with them they are trying to rid themselves of. Ann and Steve tried the local food, socialized with the local people and were ultimately courteous and thoughtful.
Thank you!
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