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The Spice Necklace


I've said that one of the major benefits of being a writer is getting to meet other writers. Well, I lied. The very major benefit is getting to read their books.

I "met" Ann Vanderhoof through her first book, An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Adventure when I spent a Queenly day at Celestial Seasonings as its book club pick. During the signing, one of the employees gave me a copy of Ann's book, because at the end of Queen of the Road I mentioned that Tim wanted our next adventure to be on a sailboat and I'd been catching him surfing the net for sailboat sites.

"Don't do it until you read this book," the woman cautioned, handing it over.

It was after I read Embarrassment of Mangoes that I started lamenting, "Why can't I have a normal husband who just surfs for porn?" Don't get me wrong: It's a wonderful, humorous travel memoir but disasters out in the middle of the ocean make disasters on land in a bus seem... quaint.


Her latest book, The Spice Necklace, also centers around her and husband, Steve's, sailing adventrues in the Caribbean, but with a definite emphasis on all things culinary.


So, OK. After drooling my way through the pages, I now want to do the sailing in the Caribbean thing, again. Maybe Tim and I will run into (not literally, of course) Ann and Steve in their boat, Receta (recipe) or their dinghy, Snack. Then again, Ann writes that it's part of island culture to make guests participate in cooking. I have a feeling that particular tradition would be scuttled after my first invite.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were when they explored various Caribbean islands in some pretty awufl rental cars, which they call SdJ "Shitbox du Jour" or SdS "Shitbox de la Semaine" (depending on if they're on a French or English-speaking island). Brought back memories for me. My dad always called any rental car we had a "scheisse kubel" which he helpfully translated for me as "shit bucket" in German. And, we didn't even have to be in Germany.

Another favorite part was learning about the art and science of cocoa testing.

And, of course, another was meeting all the island characters through Ann's eyes, especially catching up with a few from An Embarrassment of Mangoes. Really, there are too many "favorite parts" for me to mention, so just read the book.

Need more incentive? Plenty of extremely tasty Carribean food recipes. Be sure to check out Ann's wonderful website for some great pictures and more recipes.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 5, 2010 3:49 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Chase N The Dream.

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