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An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,595 ratings  ·  425 reviews
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, Stev
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Broadway Books (first published 2003)
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3.92  · 
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 ·  4,595 ratings  ·  425 reviews

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Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I almost cried when I finished this book. There is such a sense of peace and contentment with life that is exuded from the pages of this book. It's not high literature, it doesn't contain fancy prose; it is just one damn fine book to read for the pure pleasure of reading. It is the book that is embodies what it means to lose oneself in a book. For myself, I know that as much as I would love to, I will probably never take two years off from my life and career and sail around the Caribbean. But do ...more
Prachi Pati
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
My Rating: 4 awesome stars!!

Book Name: An Embarrassment of Mangoes (A Caribbean Interlude)

Author: Ann Vanderhoof

Genre: Non Fiction/Travelogue/Culture&History/Caribbean food recipe guide

Before 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? Lol
Austin Collins
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 roc
Missy J
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Julie  Durnell
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
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.
Jessica Haider
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 same...especially now when I am bogged down with deadlines and too much work at the office. I NEED A VACATION!!!

The a
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-books
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 re ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Mix 2 cups travelogue, 3 desert spoons cooking book and a teaspoon of how-to sailing guide and the result is the delightfully light and fluffy An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude.

The book details Ann and Steve Vanderhoof's journey aboard their 42-foot yacht Receta as they take a two year break from their professional careers to sail down the east coast of North America to the West Indies. Travelling more than 7,000 miles via 16 countries, this is a story that definitely requires c
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 ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
"An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude" is the first in a duet of memoirs by Ann Vanderhoof (the second is titled "The Spice Necklace"). This is the story of 2 late 30s-early 40s Canadians who quit their jobs and spend 2 years sailing first down the coast of North America to the Bahamas and then on through the Caribbean. Ann and her significant other, Steve, are no more than novice sailors. Steve, more experienced, but barely, the sum total of his experience having been on Lake Onta ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a book about food and travel. But not any kind of travel, its about sailing. Having made a few sailing trips I could relate to this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and have passed it onto sailing friends. The book includes details about the trip and the stops to the various islands. But more importantly, it includes wonderful details about food in these islands. The book also includes many wonderful recipes that can be made in a tiny boat kitchen or even at home. I have picked up th ...more
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dreamers
This book is a must read for all travellers, travel enthusiasts or people who just like to day dream about getting away. The book is about a couple's year long adventure sailing the Carribean in their Sailboat. They encounter culture, crazy weather and awesome food. I loved that the mix of memoir, travelogue, cookbook, sailing guide all rolled into one. This book will make you want to quit your day job and leave for an adventure.
Julie McElhaney
May 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that needs to get away!
Shelves: travel
If this book doesn't make you want to learn to sail, nothing will! A fun trip through the Caribbean and some tasty recipes to boot!
Kathy Sandlin
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This was a super fun book to read about cruising the Caribbean. She doesn't get lost in the technical details of sailing and focuses on food, music and culture. She is pretty funny. The book makes you hungry and wanting to be in the islands.
3.5 stars. Fun to daydream about checking out for two years for an adventure. The book is worth the recipes alone.
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
An excellent foodie-travel read. Vanderhoof and her husband leave their jobs and life in Toronto to sail to and through the Caribbean on the Receta, their 42 ft sailboat. Wonderfully descriptive about the trip, people, traditions and of course the food--it is a great way to escape and live vicariously through Vanderhoof's adventures, you can almost feel the tropical sun. There are plenty of recipes for Caribbean food and drink included to keep the mood going.

I'll be doing a more detailed review
Ann and Steve work hard at their jobs in Canada. They like what they do and fortunately for them they get to work together as well as be married to one another. They have carved out a good life for themselves. However, they have come up with a plan that will change all that - they are going to escape wintery Toronto with a sailboat adventure.

This is the story of a dream. And it is a book for anyone who worries about whether they should attempt their dream. Without giving away the tale that Ann
Rene Bahrenfuss
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I have been eking this book out, a page or two at a time, for months....not wanting it to end. Just look at that cover. That's how the book feels, taking you along as the author and her husband sail from Toronto to the Caribbean. Not just tourists, but investing two years of their lives in truly living a rich existence so different from their everyday. Genuinely getting to know the locals and their food--the food! The book is jam-packed with recipes.....and a hefty but subtle dose of inspira ...more
Lisa Cerqueira
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
An honest, engaging account of one couple's escape from Toronto on a sailboat to the Caribbean and back. The author shares the mundane, unpleasant, and frightening aspects of living and traveling on a sailboat down the east coast and through the Caribbean islands — not just the fun times. An avid cook, she also scours each stop for native dishes and ingredients and shares some of her recipes along with her story. A map is included so you can follow along as they wend their way south and then bac ...more
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who want to run away from home, wannabe pirates, mango enthusiasts
I originally picked up this book because I have always wanted to run away from responsibilities and have some sort of adventure. The story was interesting enough and the descriptions of the islands definitely made me want to sail around the world. However, the actual book wasn't very gripping and she didn't describe the characters thoroughly enough for me to care about them. She did include descriptions and recipes for some delicious-sounding dishes. Despite that (and even though I hate to stop ...more
Cara Hinton
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another really good book to savor. It's not a quick read that has you turning the pages to get to the next part. But I applaud the author's verve at going to sea on a sail boat for 2 years! That is quite an accomplishment, and definitely something to write about. Since I moved to the Caribbean in 1997, our timing was very closely mirrored. However, I chose to stay and never go back to the corporate life, they somehow carved out time to do both and be successful at it. Cheers to them for making i ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
While reading this book, I found myself wondering what would it be like if I gave up everything to sail around the Caribbean like the author does. Her descriptions of the people, food and the journey made it sound so possible and I felt rather envious of her care-free sailing lifestyle. I loved how she put in the negatives too-her fears, the rough weather, the constant salt-crusting. Wonderful travel writing.
Susan Mcdonald
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this adventure which is a true story! Especially since sailing is something I will never do...but the novel combined my love of the Caribbean with the dream of taking a sabbatical from work to travel. Even better that it is a Canadian couple from Toronto...Excellent writing and a few tempting recipes to try
Missy Tanja
This is my dream. This couple from Toronto had a great adventure. I too, hope mine will come. It eases you into the cruising life. Especially great if you guys are trying to win your wife over to the cruising life. What a great, refreshing read.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Warning - you will want to travel to Caribbean countries and eat mangoes and other amazing foods. I loved her descriptions of food, and I appreciated that she didn't seem to shy away from some of the issues of poverty and tourism that affect these islands. It was a quick and enjoyable read.
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully inspiring tale of travel and adventure! I loved every page of this book and it only fuels my love for travel!
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
A wonderful cautionary tale: beware or you might become enchanted with the islands and their food.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great bit of fun armchair travel about the stereotypical dream of "quitting my job and setting sail for the open seas" coming true for one couple from Canada. In this couple's case, two years were spent traveling through the entire Caribbean island chain on their sailboat, along the way going through various adventures and meeting other sailors as well as locals.

As an added touch, the author was also a passionate cook and a good portion of this book was spent describing her experimen
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