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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best travel and cooking books I've ever read!
I love this book so much... The author talks about living on a boat and visiting various Caribbean islands. I would so love to live her life; the idea of living on a boat and traveling from island to island is alluring.

It is fascinating to learn about the islands and learning about the foods is a bonus. The foods sound very fresh and different, in a good...
Published on April 14, 2010 by Boston Lesbian

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, chillaxing read about life and eating in the Carribean
This book is a travelogue of a couple who spent a few years sailing and cooking their way around the Carribean. The book is fashioned in a semi-chronological order, covering the islands they traveled to one chapter at a time. The stories that the author tells in the book are delightful, chronicling her friendship with loving Carribeans who welcomed her into their kitchens...
Published on April 20, 2010 by Yuni


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best travel and cooking books I've ever read!, April 14, 2010
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I love this book so much... The author talks about living on a boat and visiting various Caribbean islands. I would so love to live her life; the idea of living on a boat and traveling from island to island is alluring.

It is fascinating to learn about the islands and learning about the foods is a bonus. The foods sound very fresh and different, in a good way. I've made a batch of geera pork and it was fabulous. It starts by caramelizing sugar in oil and browning the meat in it. That gives the stew a deep and intense flavor I've never tasted before. I've also tried a corn soup that was great.

The books also discusses a black cake, made in Trinidad. It is a traditional Christmas treat. Although there isn't a recipe for it in this book I was so taken by its description I found a recipe online and my fruit is soaking (for at least a month) and I will make it soon.

Other recipes I've enjoyed are Seafood stuffed cocktail bites (shrimp or lobster), plantain crusted chicken fingers with green seasoning and lime squares.

I'm very pleased that I had a chance to review this book and I look forward to trying more recipes as well as reading her first book, "An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sugar n' Spice and Everything Nice, April 14, 2010
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The Spice necklace is a collection of spices known to distinct countries in the Caribbean. Each spice is interwoven between natural beads, such as nutmeg with its cover of mace. They are colorful and fragrant. You can hang them in your kitchen or whatever room or place that you define.

Ann and her husband lived in Toronto as magazine editors. They had a 42 foot sailboat, The Cecheta, which means recipes in Spanish. They used the sailboats for weekend getaways and trips. One of their trips took them to the Caribbean for two years. Along the way they met many people and made friend boats. They were curious about the cultures and the food and asked questions. Their curiosity was rewarded with significant answers that made many new friends and many wonderful new recipes . But, alas they had to return home to make money to fund their next trip. At home they found they felt claustrophobic in their enclosed home and the Caribbean called them.

After six long years the call to the Caribbean was answered. They shipped their sailboat to Florida, and then flew to Florida. They sailed to Grenada, the land of nutmeg. And, then on to the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Haiti, St Martin, St Kitts, Martinique, Tobago, St. Lucia, Guadalupe, and the Island of All Saints. Interspersed throughout each chapter are a collection of 71 recipes . Each recipe is pertinent to the country. The book is filled with wonderful spices and I could almost smell the aromas. At one point, they are invited to a oildown, which is a combination of vegetables, meats and spices mixed together into a very rich mix. The mixture of wonderful story -telling and recipes is not new, but this is one of the better combinations of this type of book. The lure of the Caribbean and the stories of the cultures and the people are so well written that I can feel and smell the food and best of all, the spices. The blue of the Caribbean and the soft brown of the nutmeg, what could be better?

Recommended. prisrob 04-14-10

An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, chillaxing read about life and eating in the Carribean, April 20, 2010
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This book is a travelogue of a couple who spent a few years sailing and cooking their way around the Carribean. The book is fashioned in a semi-chronological order, covering the islands they traveled to one chapter at a time. The stories that the author tells in the book are delightful, chronicling her friendship with loving Carribeans who welcomed her into their kitchens and homes, sharing their lives and recipes with her.

The recipes are interleaved within the relevant chapters and the author helpfully suggests alternative ingredients and methods that may be more accessible to the North American reader. At times, the tone of the writing can get indulgent, but seriously, this is a book about sailing in the Carribean. So sit back, relax, have a chilled drink within reach and enjoy this delightful read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Ahnn gets a Sweet Hand, May 4, 2010
By 
atmj (Rochester, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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This book is the result of a second journey to the Caribbean Isles of the author and her husband. They dock their ship the Receta in various ports along their way and live for a time on various islands. They meet up with friends they made on the previous trip as well as make new ones on the way. On their journey they sample the local food and spend time to learn how to cook it, to the satisfaction of the locals no less.

The following table of contents chapters give you a sense of what the book is about: (Please note, since this is an advance reader's copy, it could change)

Preface: The spell of the spice necklace
1: The Nutmeg Gatherers
2: Self-Spicing Goats
3: The Egg Ladies
4: The 151-Proof Spice
5: Bay in the Mountains, Crabs in the Pot
6: The Food Critics Visit the Easy Bake Boat
7: Rolling Rice and Drinking Jack Iron Rum
8: Curry Tablanca
9: Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
10: Cramming for a Chocolate Tasting Test
11: Snow on the Mountains, Christmas on the Way
12: All Ah We is One
13: In Search of Passion
14: Barks That Bite
15: Dog Sauce and Rhum
16: Lunch with Moses
18: Back to the Isle of Spice

You get an idea that each chapter covers a particular spice or food item, person or a meal. Each chapter ends with a set of recipes in both English and Metric measures and considering typical North American ingredients (Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!). At least I can get close to creating some of the wonderful meals I have read about.

As with any foreign travel, there are cultural differences and the author wonderfully captures the flavor of the Islands from the laid back feel (liming) to the way of speech: the colloquialisms ("sweet hand" to describe a good island cook) to capturing the long drawn out way the islanders say her name (Ahnn).

You can also see despite the poverty, generosity is a way of life. People opened their kitchens and their lives to these strangers and we are the richer for it. The book is filled with stories of hard-working fisherman, successful collectives and a resilient people. It also is quite comical listening to the author describe their SDJ and how depending on it's condition, determines the direction they travel. I'll let the book explain that.

As I was reading this book there was many a passage I had to read aloud (to anyone who would listen) to explain my laughter. The author allows herself to bear the brunt of the humor at times and we get a true sense of her interactions with the locals. It is clear these people have found a place in her heart and I can also see why she and her husband would put such effort in returning there.

Soon, I hope to try out some of these recipes. There are 71 all told and only a few have ingredients that will need a Caribbean grocer to fulfill.

I certainly hope the Receta is getting ready for another voyage soon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read to lime away an afternoon., April 3, 2010
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Most of us at some point in our lives want to shuck it all and take off for the Great Unknown on the adventure of a lifetime. Some of us are lucky enough to get to do just exactly that - to ride the rapids of the Grand Canyon or climb Mt. Everest or stand on a glacier in Alaska. Ann Vanderhoof and her husband dreamed of exploring the Caribbean. One day they packed up their sailboat and took off on the adventure of a lifetime. Along the way they learned how to taste chocolate, made friends on the island where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed, danced in the Carneval parade, went diving for fish and learned to cook the foods of the islands from the best cooks they could find.

Ann's account of their travels is riveting and her recipes are mouthwatering. Better yet, the ingredients for nearly all of them are easily had at almost any supermarket. Kudos for a job well done. I can't wait to see a sequel. Matter of fact, I might just hunt up a copy of the prequel - An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude.

I do have one minor complaint: my Advance Reader Copy has no index to the recipes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yummy!, April 15, 2010
By 
Tomorryo (Southwest USA) - See all my reviews
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I must admit I was way more interested in the recipes in this book than the stories of the author's travels! I'm very interested in the unique flavor combinations of caribbean cooking. There is a handy list of all 71 recipes in the front of the book. I don't eat chicken, beef, pork, or lamb, and here are the recipes I look forward to making:

Coconut chips
Grenada-style ginger peanuts
Lobster pizza
Twice-fried green plantains with garlic-cilantro aioli dip
Wendy's spicy smoked herring spread

Cocoa tea
Ginger tea
Receta's ginger beer

Miss Pat's pepper shrimp
Seared tuna with a cocoa crust
Trini-style curry shrimp

Creamed spinach with coconut milk
Rosa's avocado salad
Stewed lentils with pumpkin
Watercress and avocado salad with spicy shrimp

Chocolate-crammed Christmas cookies
Ginger spice cookies
Tart and sweet lime squares

There are also lots of recipes with meat in them. If you love the caribbean and want to read about it and try some authentic recipes, this would be a great book for you!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living in the Caribbean for real. Highly recommended., April 11, 2010
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"Spice Necklace" will be a fascinating read for anyone who has spent a few vacation days in the Caribbean in a self-contained resort but wondered about the real daily world of the island people all around them. Ann Vanderhoof and her husband did not just go on vacation; they put their jobs in Toronto on hold, bought a 40 foot sailboat, and sailed from island to island for several years - an idyllic way of life. This is their second major book reporting their travels. The organizing principle of the trips was to seek out local foods, their ingredients and preparation. This they learned first hand by forming a series of relationships with locals as they sailed around the 'necklace.'

But the book is more than a foodie tour. Vanderhoof is a lively, curious writer and a talented reporter who does not shy away from gritty realities. Her observations of local life include some unforgettable vignettes. At the frontier between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, she describes hundreds of desperately poor Haitian women pouring across the border for market day where they trade excess donated goods for badly needed foodstuffs. One Haitian woman crosses back with a huge crate of live chickens balanced on her head and liquid running down her back - which the author realizes is not sweat but chicken urine. A memorable image. There is also a hilarious passage where the author and her girlfriend fixate on the anatomy of a local man as he swims out to recover some seaweed, making her husband a bit jealous.

The book does include recipes, and they are tempting; who would not be intrigued to try "Dog Sauce" or "Oildown?" Unfortunately it will be difficult to replicate these without access to the local ingredients, which are available only in a few Caribbean expatriate communities in North America. The recipes do add to the understanding of island life and the diverse ways of life which emerged from the mixture of African slaves and European colonies. I started out intending to just skim the book but ended up reading it to the end to learn about a world which is nearby the US in miles but lightyears away in culture.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique, Interesting, & Fun!, July 22, 2010
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This is a unique combination of interludes between a couple and various islanders they encounter during a journey of sailing through the Caribbean. The book has the feel of a great travel journal and is organized around spices and recipes to highlight the intriguing encounters with various characters throughout the travels of the author.

If you like to travel, cook, and to learn about other cultures you will certainly enjoy this unique find that doubles as a great little cook book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Two-fer, November 23, 2011
I like travelogues. I like books about cooking. The Spice Necklace is a two-fer, about both travel and cooking.

It's part two of the story of a couple who sold most of what they owned and live on a boat (see part one, Vanderhoof's first book, An Embarrassment of Mangoes, for more information). Now the couple is sailing around the Caribbean, visiting beautiful places, and sampling (and attempting) Caribbean cooking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRING ON DE RUM, July 11, 2010
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I LOVED 'AN EMBARRASSMENT OF MANGOES' !!! 'THE SPICE NECKLACE' IS JUST AS DELICIOUS A READ. IF YOU LIKE TRAVEL BOOKS/ESSAYS AND LOVE TO COOK, ESPECIALLY CARRIBEAN STYLE, THIS BOOK IS DEFINITELY FOR YOU ! A FRIEND IS CURRENTLY MAKING UP A BATCH OF THE PEPPER RUM AND THE GREEN SEASONING FOR US ALL TO TRY.

ANNE : WHEN IS YOUR NEXT BOOK COMING OUT ? WE CAN'T WAIT !!
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The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life
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