An Embarrassment of Mangoes
A Caribbean Interlude
By Ann Vanderhoof
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780767914277, 320pp.)
Publication Date: February 8, 2005
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Under the Tuscan Sun meets the wide-open sea . . . An Embarrassment of Mangoes is a delicious chronicle of leaving the type-A lifestyle behind -- and discovering the seductive secrets of life in the Caribbean.
Who hasn’t fantasized about chucking the job, saying goodbye to the rat race, and escaping to some exotic destination in search of sun, sand, and a different way of life? Canadians Ann Vanderhoof and her husband, Steve did just that.
In the mid 1990s, they were driven, forty-something professionals who were desperate for a break from their deadline-dominated, career-defined lives. So they quit their jobs, rented out their house, moved onto a 42-foot sailboat called Receta (“recipe,” in Spanish), and set sail for the Caribbean on a two-year voyage of culinary and cultural discovery.
In lavish detail that will have you packing your swimsuit and dashing for the airport, Vanderhoof describes the sun-drenched landscapes, enchanting characters and mouthwatering tastes that season their new lifestyle. Come along for the ride and be seduced by Caribbean rhythms as she and Steve sip rum with their island neighbors, hike lush rain forests, pull their supper out of the sea, and adapt to life on “island time.”
Exchanging business clothes for bare feet, they drop anchor in 16 countries -- 47 individual islands -- where they explore secluded beaches and shop lively local markets. Along the way, Ann records the delectable dishes they encounter -- from cracked conch in the Bahamas to curried lobster in Grenada, from Dominican papaya salsa to classic West Indian rum punch -- and incorporates these enticing recipes into the text so that readers can participate in the adventure.
Almost as good as making the journey itself, An Embarrassment of Mangoes is an intimate account that conjures all the irresistible beauty and bounty from the Bahamas to Trinidad -- and just may compel you to make a rash decision that will land you in paradise.
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.
“Finely crafted…portraits that prompt us to see and to yearn: what travel writing is all about.”-- Kirkus Reviews