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What I loved was Ann and Steve's love for local food and customs. They especially left an imprint in Grenada, closely befriending a local family. After each chapter, we get one to three recipes. They all sounded amazing, unfortunately I cannot find a fresh lobster where I live to try the recipe out!
But the recipes were really lovely. I appreciate reading the adventure of Ann and Steve. They are wonderful, positive, passionate and hardworking people.
An Embarrassment of Mangoes
I highly recommend this book. View 2 comments. As the book blurb states, "An Embarassment of Mangoes" is remniscent of "Under the Tuscan Sun" in that it is a travel memoir about a women who steps away from her "real life" of working her job and the dealing with other everyday stresses. The author and her husband take 2 years off from their work and set sail from Toronto to the Caribbean.
The book really made me want to do the same The author did a great job of recounting their experiences sailing and describing the character, charms and food of each island they visited. The end of each chapter had several recipes of food that she made on that leg of the journey. The quintessential quit-your-job-and-sail-off-to the-Caribbean book, perfect for the bleak mid-winter blues. Ann and Steve were intrepid sailors and their story was thrilling and honest. A solid 3. Dec 11, A rated it liked it Shelves: travel-books. I really enjoyed "An Embarrassment of Mangoes", but it didn't quite rise to the standards of 4 stars.
It was a solid 3. The basic premise is that this couple from Toronto take the plunge, quit their jobs and head off for a two year adventure down the coast of the US through the Caribbean to Trinidad before returning to Canada. I applaud the hutzzpah that it took to quit their jobs and re I really enjoyed "An Embarrassment of Mangoes", but it didn't quite rise to the standards of 4 stars. I applaud the hutzzpah that it took to quit their jobs and rent out their house while they were still young enough to enjoy their trip.
Would that my spouse would agree and I would be on the path. But the relating of the story, while entertaining, just wasn't captivating.
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The author was a magazine editor, but it is clear that while she is a talented author, she isn't in the same category as Bill Bryson, Tony Horowitz, or William Least Heat Moon. The stories about the trip were educational and full of lots of interesting details, but didn't leave you laughing, crying, cringing, or scarred. The book is just a very well documented travelogue as if you were reading the diary of a decent author.
If you love sailing or the Caribbean then you should read the book. But, be prepared for most of the book to take place in four locations with little fillers to explain the rest of the trip. Still great gusto just to do it and take the trip and for that I applaud her and her husband. Sadly, for me, Vanderhoof stays away from disclosing anything about herself, her husband and how the voyage changed them and their relationship, maybe even their relationship with others.
She sticks to pleasant enough descriptions of the places and people, and there are some nice recipes, but the book lacked soul and purpose. A pleasant but aimless read; I put it down about half way through and I never got round to picking it up again. Jan 05, Eileen rated it liked it.
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After admiring t 3. Although the first third of the book Part One moved rather slowly since most of the time was spent at sea, I did find it interesting to read about the daily logistics of the trip from regular dives below to scrape barnacles off of the hull, to the filling of notebooks with copious weather observations received via radio, to creatively shoehorning a couple more bottles of wine into the boat's limited storage.
The author also shared a few interesting historical foodie tidbits, including the mention that the only two written copies of the secret formula for Angostura Bitters a unique blend of herbs and spices developed in are rumored to exist, one in a New York bank vault and one in Trinidad. The activity and interest picked up in the remainder of the book Part Two and Three as the couple spent more time on land bonding with other "cruisers" who happened to also be at port as well as meeting welcoming natives in various countries who introduced them to a rainbow of Caribbean delacacies from fresh fruit to seafood which were then transformed into delicious-sounding recipes ranging from curried lobster to pina colada cheesecake.
I would recommend this book as an enjoyable read to others who like Caribbean food and sailing.
Nov 03, thereadytraveller rated it liked it. Mix 2 cups travelogue, 3 desert spoons cooking book and a teaspoon of how-to sailing guide and the result is the delightfully light and fluffy An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude. The book details Ann and Steve Vanderhoof's journey aboard their foot yacht Receta as they take a two year break from their professional careers to sail down the east coast of North America to the West Indies.
Travelling more than 7, miles via 16 countries, this is a story that definitel Mix 2 cups travelogue, 3 desert spoons cooking book and a teaspoon of how-to sailing guide and the result is the delightfully light and fluffy An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude. Travelling more than 7, miles via 16 countries, this is a story that definitely requires cautionary labels as its guaranteed to make you wonder whether taking a similar sojourn yourself is required!
An Embarrassment of Mangoes is an entertaining read loaded with stories of their sailing experiences and the people they meet - both locals and cruisers alike as they navigate hurricanes, erupting volcanoes, carnivals and more than the odd rum distillery. Vanderhoof provides a flavour of the culture of each island that they visit and intertwines this with her culinary escapades as she immerses herself in the local people and their cuisine. The finished products are then written up as recipes at the back of each chapter for our consumption.
Much like their own sailing experiences the book succeeds by not reaching too far.
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Content in what it is they are looking to achieve, we are left with an enjoyable read that is consumed with gusto and best served with a nicely aged rum accompanied by fresh breezes. Mar 20, Linda rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , travel , memoir , thereading-challenge , lindad-sbook-challenge. Ann and Steve Vanderhoof won't need to look back someday and regret not living out their dreams.
Twenty years ago, approaching middle age, they took a two-year hiatus from their busy, stress-filled lives in Toronto, packed up some essentials and sailed their foot sailboat to the Caribbean and back, lingering among the islands as the spirit moved them, making friends among the islanders and other cruisers along the way, and otherwise immersing themselves in tropical culture and life. They had Ann and Steve Vanderhoof won't need to look back someday and regret not living out their dreams.
They had a marvelous, life-changing time, and while their tale isn't filled with calamities and high drama, Ann manages to enthrall the reader with her travelogue, making us feel like we are sailing right along with them and living a less complicated life, too. I had brought this book along with me on a cruise last month but didn't get around to reading it until returning home. Coincidentally, we visited several of the same less-frequented islands that the Vanderhoofs did Grenada, St. Lucia, Mayreau, Bequia , and reading about their experiences allowed me to relive the brief time we spent there again, which was wonderful.
Many of Ann's favorite memories are of a culinary nature -- learning to adapt to and cook unfamiliar foods, based on what's available in each port, and gleaning recipes from the locals -- so she shared dozens of those with us, adding a different dimension to the story. All in all, this is a great book for arm-chair travelers. I enjoyed every page. May 22, BJ rated it really liked it Shelves: cook-the-books , local-library , foodie , nonfiction , This is the story of 2 late 30s-early 40s Canadians who quit their jobs and spend 2 years sailing first down the coast of North America to the Bahamas and then on through the Caribbean.
Ann and her significant other, Steve, are no more than novice sailors. Steve, more experienced, but barely, the sum total of his experience having been on Lake Onta "An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude" is the first in a duet of memoirs by Ann Vanderhoof the second is titled "The Spice Necklace". Steve, more experienced, but barely, the sum total of his experience having been on Lake Ontario and Ann not at all.
This book is all about their adventures, the other cruisers they meet, and the mostly wonderful people of the islands that they visit and the food. Unlike a lot of North American cruisers, Ann and Steve decide to eat mostly local dishes wherever they are, instead of cooking their own home-like food.
The book includes a couple of recipes at the end of every chapter and her descriptions of dishes made my mouth water. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to reading "The Spice Necklace", the second in this series. Sep 17, PorshaJo rated it really liked it Shelves: challengereads , challengereads This is a book about food and travel.
But not any kind of travel, its about sailing.
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Having made a few sailing trips I could relate to this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and have passed it onto sailing friends. The book includes details about the trip and the stops to the various islands. But more importantly, it includes wonderful details about food in these islands. The book also includes many wonderful recipes that can be made in a tiny boat kitchen or even at home.