Ann Vanderhoof is an award-winning writer and editor. She lives with her husband, Steve Manley, in Toronto, with their yacht Receta berthed nearby on Lake Ontario.
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 sea moss 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.
Who hasn't fantasized about leaving their job, saying goodbye to the rat race and escaping to some exotic destination in search of sun, sand, and a different way of life? Ann Vanderhoof and her husband did just that. In the mid 1990s, the author and her husband were driven, forty-something professionals who were desperate for a break from their harried, deadline-dominated lives. So they left their jobs, rented out their house, moved onto a 42-foot yacht called Receta ('recipe' in Spanish) and set sail from their home in Canada for the Caribbean. AN EMBARRASSMENT OF MANGOES is Ann Vanderhoof's intimate account of this two-year midlife interlude during which she and her husband travelled more than 7,000 nautical miles, dropped anchor in 16 countries (and 47 individual islands), and adapted to a new life on 'island time'. Exchanging suits for bare feet, they leave the stresses of their old life behind and become caught up in a world that is simultaneously simpler and more exuberant. They sip rum with their neighbours and dance through the streets during Carnival, explore secluded beaches, learn to pull their dinner from the sea and create delectable dishes in their tiny galley kitchen. Interspersed with irresistible recipes, from cracked conch in the Bahamas, curried lobster in Grenada, spicy island gingerbread to West Indian rum punch, AN EMBARRASSMENT OF MANGOES is the enticing story of discovering not just vibrant new cultures and cuisines, but what really matters.