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The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life by [Ann Vanderhoof]

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The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 81 ratings

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Length: 479 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"Vanderhoof’s second book . . . will have you slipping away to the Margaritaville mentality while aboard Vanderhoof and her husband’s 42-foot sailboat, the beloved Receta. . . . The best part: If an island getaway won’t fit into your tight budget this year, ‘every little thing gonna be all right’ because Vanderhoof offers 71 delicious recipes that will have you relishing a Caribbean staycation in your kitchen . . . These island concoctions are tasty enough to make you feel anything but landlocked." —Elle, "Top 10 Summer Books for 2010"
"The Spice Necklace more than whets your appetite for the Caribbean, and in particular, the Caribbean cuisine. It evokes the character, personality and strength of such wonderful sun-blessed countries, feeding a hunger I, for one, have had for so many years. The words and recipes offer a true Caribbean escape." —Gary Rhodes, chef and author of New British Classics and Keeping It Simple
"The Spice Necklace is pure pleasure from start to finish.  It not only makes me want to run off to an island in the Caribbean, but somehow, it makes me feel as though I already have, as though I knew the place, as though I were a part of it. Ann Vanderhoof is a remarkably smart, funny, and generous writer:  she brings us on her journey, and in the process, in her words and her recipes, she gives us a journey of our own.  I would follow her anywhere." —Molly Wizenberg, author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life

"Ann Vanderhoof gives us real soul food, and a heartfelt recollection of the people who showed her and her husband what Caribbean food is all about. If you have ever doubted the allure of the Caribbean, The Spice Necklace will show you why you want t... Review

Product Description
While sailing around the Caribbean, Ann Vanderhoof and her husband Steve track wild oregano-eating goats in the cactus-covered hills of the Dominican Republic, gather nutmegs on an old estate in Grenada, make searing-hot pepper sauce in a Trinidadian kitchen, cram for a chocolate-tasting test at the University of the West Indies, and sip moonshine straight out of hidden back-country stills.

Along the way, they are befriended by a collection of unforgettable island characters: Dwight, the skin-diving fisherman who always brings them something from his catch and critiques her efforts to cook it; Greta, who harvests seamoss on St. Lucia and turns it into potent Island-Viagra; sweet-hand Pat, who dispenses hugs and impromptu dance lessons along with cooking tips in her Port of Spain kitchen.

Back in her galley, Ann practices making curry like a Trini, dog sauce like a Martiniquais, and coo-coo like a Carriacouan. And for those who want to take these adventures into their own kitchens, she pulls 71 delicious recipes from the stories she tells, which she places at the end of the relevant chapters.

The Spice Necklace is a wonderful escape into a life filled with sunshine (and hurricanes), delicious food, irreplaceable company, and island traditions.

A Look at The Spice Necklace
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

Photos from the Islands

Fresh lobster for dinner

Nutmeg and mace come from the same tree.

A seamoss farmer with a jug of seamoss drink

Author Ann Vanderhoof drinking coconut water

Cassia bark is rolled and pressed by hand to form cinnamon sticks

Cooking oregano infused goat

Spicy Bites: A Taste of The Spice Necklace

1. Wild oregano is a mainstay in the diet of goats that graze in the hills at the northwest edge of the Dominican Republic--which means the meat comes to the kitchen preseasoned, and infused with flavor.

2.Seamoss is a type of seaweed that is reputed in the Caribbean to be a potent aphrodisiac, the island version of Viagra. It’s dried, boiled until thick, then mixed with milk and spices (such as cinnamon and nutmeg). One restaurant in Grenada calls its version of the milkshake-like seamoss drink “Stay Up.”

3. Nutmeg and mace come from the same tree. When its apricot-like fruit is ripe, it splits open to reveal a lacy, strawberry-red wrapper around the hard glossy brown shell that holds the nutmeg itself. This waxy red corset is mace, and more than 300 pounds of nutmegs are needed to yield a single pound of it.

4. On the Scoville scale of pepper heat, Trinidadian Congo peppers rate about 300,000 units. Even the most fiery Mexican jalapeño only measures about 8,000.

5. Coconut water--the clear liquid inside a young or "jelly" coconut--has the same electrolyte balance as blood and was given intravenously to wounded soldiers as an emergency substitute for plasma during World War II. Coconut water is also better than energy drinks for rehydration, replenishing electrolytes and minerals such as potassium. For the same reasons, it's used as a hangover cure in the Caribbean.

6. Much of the ground cinnamon sold in North America is actually cassia, which is the variety of cinnamon grown in the Caribbean. Cassia has a stronger, more pungent flavor than true cinnamon. Once a year, the trees are harvested by carefully peeling the bark away from the branches. After the outer layer is removed, the inner bark is dried in the sun. As it dries, it begins to curl into sticks, and then is rolled and pressed by hand to complete the process.

7.The aroma of allspice is a sensuous combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper-- which leads to the common misconception that it is a blend of several spices. In fact, allspice is a single spice-- the dried berry of a tree that is native only to the West Indies and Central America. Jamaica produces 90% of the world's supply; Grenada, the remaining 10%.

8. To make removing coconut meat from the shell easier, bore holes in two of the eyes of the coconut using a pointed utensil and drain the liquid. Bake the nut in a preheated 400° F oven for 15–20 minutes. This cracks the shell and shrinks the meat slightly, so it virtually pops out.

9. Mauby, a popular West Indian drink, has a proven ability to reduce high blood pressure. It's made by steeping the bark of a native Caribbean tree with spices such as bay, cinnamon, star anise, and fennel.

10. Vanilla is the world's second most costly spice (after saffron). Not only do most vanilla flowers have to be hand-pollinated to produce beans, but the beans also have to be fermented and aged to develop their flavor. Straight off the vine, they're odorless and tasteless.

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Publisher : Mariner Books; 1st edition (June 23, 2010)
  • Publication date : June 23, 2010
  • Language: : English
  • File size : 1837 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 479 pages
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 81 ratings

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