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on April 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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on February 4, 2014
This book is essentially a sequel to An Embarrassment of Mangoes. The author and her husband return to sailing around the Caribbean. The book revolves around their travels to various islands. It contains witty and funny stories about the people they encounter, the differences of the islands, and most of all the food. The writing reveal a deep longing and fondness for the experience they had. The recipes are delicious and, if you cook them while reading the book, more deeply connect you to the experiences and people described.

It is not quite as good as the original, partly because it is missing the subtext of the original departure from their busy lives, the authentic conflict of learning to live on a boat, and the newness of visiting the places that Embarrassment of Mangoes presented us with; however it does contain more deep character development, more detailed descriptions of places, and is eloquently told. If you like the escape of An Embarrassment of Mangoes then this is a good choice. If you haven't read it, read it first.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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on April 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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on July 12, 2016
I wish they talked more about the boat and voyage just as much as the food. I love the descriptions of the cooking and spices and perrpers of the islands. I think they could have squeezed a small page before each country about the summary of the voyage and conditions in between. The authur(s) cultural idiosyncrasies are amusing and apparently proper polite Canadian dialects. The dialect adds to the clear picture of polite Canadians in unique cultural situations. Pretty entertaining.
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on February 8, 2016
It's snowing here, but we have tried several of the recipes as we prepare to move aboard our boat and head south. The people, the places, the tastes -- all are vividly presented. Cannot wait for our own adventure to begin so we can savor some of the more exotic tastes of the Islands.
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VINE VOICEon April 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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on September 24, 2012
This is the second part of a memoir about a Canadian couple's solo journey through the Caribbean on a small sailboat. Both are "foodies," and each chapter ends with a recipe using seasoning and ingredients native to the island they're visiting -- moreover, the "flavor" of the islands permeates the story as well as the food. The first volume, "An Embarrassment of Mangos," is the more adventurous story -- because they were such novices (such uptight novices) that it's easy to relate to two people on a 42-foot boat who see the dentist and the lawyer (to write their wills)before leaving Ontario.
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on March 4, 2014
I loved hearing Ann Vanderhoof's stories about her travels, but her recipes are the best. I made 7 recipes for my friends for a wintertime reminder of sun, and they loved it. I've tried even more recipes since then, and I highly recommend them. The recipes are written clearly and well, with suggestions for substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients.
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