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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 42 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 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. 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 3.5 stars with uptick for luscious recipes and map detailing their sailing route. An Embarrassment Of Mangoes Is A Delicious Chronicle Of Leaving The Type A Lifestyle Behind And Discovering The Seductive Secrets Of Life In The CaribbeanWho 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 ThatIn The Mid S, 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 AFoot Sailboat Called Receta Recipe, In Spanish , And Set Sail For The Caribbean On A Two Year Voyage Of Culinary And Cultural DiscoveryIn 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 InCountriesIndividual 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 AdventureAlmost 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 Source Is Happy 2018 everybody Actually finished this book a couple of days ago, but haven t gotten a chance to write a review yet I wanted to start 2018 with a light, breezy and fun book, which has been on my to read shelf for quite some time.An Embarrassment of Mangoes was the perfect book for me It is a mix of traveling, sailing and cooking Ann and Steve are two Canadian professionals who decided to leave their work for two years and sail through the Caribbean a dream But there s reality too Ann and Steve prepared themselves for 5 years to save up money, pay the mortgage of their house, which they will rent out to have a monthly income during their travels.I m not really into sailing and some of the technical aspects of sailing in this book made it sound very complicated But I did appreciate to read about this different life and their adjustment It wasn t always smooth sailing Most of the time, they spent studying the weather and if they go to buy groceries, it takes a full day to do just that Also you can t just go from one island to another There needs to be preparation and communication 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 I highly recommend this book. I really enjoyed An Embarrassment of Mangoes , but it didn t quite rise to the standards of 4 stars It was a solid 3.5 and a couple of chapters made it to 5 stars, but it was just a bit too inconsistent to make the 4 star rank 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 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 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 I think the author must have spent at least 1 4 of her trip anchored in Grenada Still great gusto just to do it and take the trip and for that I applaud her and her husband Now when will they head for the South Pacific so she can write, An Embarrassment of Coconuts. 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 sameespecially now when I am bogged down with deadlines and too much work at the office I NEED A VACATION 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. Two years on a small boat, together 24 7 when one of you starts as a not very comfortable sailor a situation in which I imagine you would learn about about yourself and your partner.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. 3.0 stars liked The water is placid, soft, blazingly turquoise a pool of melted gemstones blinding forks of lightning are sizzling down from the night sky and stabbing the surface of the sea around us From moments of tranquility to moments of treachery, it is an adventure for the reader to vicariously hop onboard Receta, a 42 foot sailboat, and embark on a two year, round trip journey through the Caribbean with Toronto couple, Ann and Steve After admiring them at the beginning of the story for having the courage to leave their jobs, their family friends, and their home to set sail on a southern course, the admiration for the couple jumps to new heights when witnessing the two of them sailing for hours in darkness and inclimate weather as well as attending to the many responsibilities involved in ensuring such a journey and their relationship remains secure and enjoyable.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 couplebottles 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 1824 are rud 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 spenttime 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. My Rating 4 awesome stars Book Name An Embarrassment of Mangoes A Caribbean Interlude Author Ann VanderhoofGenre Non Fiction Travelogue CultureHistory Caribbean food recipe guideBefore I start my review, here is some trivia Did you know because I didn t, before I read this book Receta means recipe in Spanish Conch is a popular seafood in the Bahamas Luperon is called a Hurricane Hole Gugua are not a strange species of insect but actually what the public minivans are called LolLambi is not lamb, but the Creole word for Conch Fig, is not Fig, but actually a Banana in the Caribbean who knew And many manysuch little facts if you ve found this interesting, I would say, you don t even have to read the rest of the review, just read the book hahahOk, so as part of the 2017 book club reading challenge, we have a travel tourist challenge where the moderator will select a place region for each month as the topic, and we have to select a book that is either set in that place location or whose author is from that location and read and review it for that month So, for January, the location was Caribbean islands and after a lot of skimming over the internet on various options, I chose to read this book, just because the description and the author seemed very real to me and what better way to travel if not really traveling than by reading a good travelogue I don t read a lot of non fiction to be frank, so I wasn t sure how to rate this book But I figured I did find the book interesting and amusing and I also did learn a whole lot of things, so this definitely qualifies for a 4 and above rating The book is written by Ann Vanderhoof, about how she and her partner, Steve, decided and planned to take a 2 year break from their daily 9 9 jobs in Canada and go sailing in their own sailing boat across the Caribbean islands It talks about her fears, her anxiety in the beginning since she has never sailed that long before in open ocean, her amazement and pure joys of trying out all the local fruits, vegetables and seafood that they catch fresh out of the water, her loving interactions with the locals, her huge list of recipes that I really want to try but can t because I don t have most of those ingredients or cooking tools available with me yet , her test of strength and grit during the storm nights manning the sailboat, her joys of finding delight in the nature and in minimalism and her disappointment when the journey is over.I ve never sailed, nor have I visited any of the Caribbean islands, but reading this book, I felt like I was on a virtual tour there and now I ve added a visit to the Caribbean at least to one of the islands to my list of travel destinations now..lol DSo, I d recommend this book if you like reading travelogues that are real, filled with real stories, humor and lots of facts on sailing, fishing, history, culture, and my favorite touch to the book the recipes at the end of each chapter There are sailing books about sailing and then there are sailing books about people and places This is a sailing book about people, places and cooking lots of cooking.If you love food and travel, you will enjoy the heck out of this story for that alone, even if you couldn t give two hoots about boats And if you love food, travel, rum, and the freedom of the open sea, you will love An Embarrassment of Mangoes.Unlike sailing books that spin terrifying tales of storms and fatigue and jagged rocks and freezing cold and staying just one half step ahead of death and calamity, this one weaves a pleasant and engaging story about a couple who take some time off from their careers to cruise the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean Ann and Steve are mostly regular, normal folks doing something a lot of people dream about They aren t trying to break world records or challenge King Neptune, they just wanted to get away for a little while, and do it on their own terms Did I mention that there is cooking An Embarrassment of Mangoes follows their experiences as they sail from Toronto to Trinidad just off the coast of Venezuela and back again on board their 42 foot Tartan sloop, Receta Spanish for recipe, many of which you will find interspersed with the text and their dinghy, Snack Ann begins the story admittedly unsure of the whole deal, but soon finds herself an enthusiastic convert to the life of an oceanic vagabond.Many sailing stories are written by people who are sailors first, and also just happen to be functionally capable of assembling sentences in a way that normally doesn t violate the most important rules of grammar, usage and style too egregiously Ann Vanderhoof is an entirely different kind of sailing author she was a magazine editor before she ever embarked on this trip Her voice is confident and competent her prose is strong and vivid An Embarrassment of Mangoes is a fine investment of your time, whether you are secretly dreaming of sailing away someday, or content to enjoy the salty wanderings of others from the comfort of your living room reading chair.