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An Embarrassment of Mangoes


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About the Author

Ann Vanderhoof is an award-winning writer and magazine and book editor whose work has appeared in publications in the U.S. and Canada. She lives with her husband, Steve Manley, in Toronto, with their sailboat Receta currently berthed nearby on Lake Ontario.

From the Hardcover edition.


If one ever had dreams about stepping out of the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and living in the Caribbean for a year or two, this book by writer and editor Vanderhoof is essential reading. Vanderhoof and her husband quit their jobs, rented out their Toronto home, and sailed south (literally) on a two-year adventure to the islands. Along the way, they encountered storms, crushing poverty, mishaps on board their 42' boat (a stalled engine, a backed-up toilet, and torn sails) but also have the time of their lives experiencing foods, festivals, and, most important, the people on their 16-nation, 47-island, 7000-nautical mile journey. At the end, Vanderhoof includes recipes of the meals she vividly and masterfully describes. Who can resist her Cream of Callaloo Soup, Saut?ed Dorado with Creole Tomato Sauce, or Spicy Island Gingerbread? A savory and delicious book; recommended for all public libraries.-Lee Arnold, Historical Soc. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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. (On sale Jan. 13) Forecast: This lighthearted memoir straddles two lucrative markets-travel and cooking-and with its splashy jacket, a national print-ad campaign and promotional recipe postcards could lure in readers seeking a winter escape. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Finely crafted...portraits that prompt us to see and to yearn: what travel writing is all about."-- Kirkus Reviews

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