Travel Companion for Women 50+ who don't like traveling alone
The Spice Necklace - My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life by Ann Vanderhoof Books in Review
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The Spice Necklace - My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life
by Ann Vanderhoof
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN 978-0-618-68537-0
Published June 2010 - Hardcover - 459 pages - $25.00

Mmmm, cooking and traveling, a couple of my favorite things.  Combined, I'd be in heaven.  That's just what Ann Vanderhoof and her husband Steve did on their boat the Receta.  This being their second trip to the Caribbean, they started in Grenada, hooking up with old friends and touring around the nutmeg groves where their friend Dingis grew up.  Along the way, these two intrepid spice and food seekers come across a variety of wonderful spices, and Ann gives us recipes from each place, like the first one, Ginger Spice Cookies that calls for cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and ginger root.  Their journey continues with a stop in the Dominican Republic where they sampled oregano-infused goat, and some trecherous mountain road driving and sightseeing.  In some places they stay for month, so it's not a couple of days here and there before they move on.  They linger, savor, and experience the people (love the accents), their towns, and their food.  They also stopped at St. Martin, St. Kitts, Dominica, Carriacou, Trinidad (great carnival but a pity about the violent crime), St. Lucia, Martinique, and Guadaloupe among other islands.  She talks about the many colorful and amusing characters they meet en route, and about their way of life on the various islands.  Their trip also included a night hike up the river in search of crabs and crayfish!  Also mentioned are some of the restaurants Ann and Steve ate at.  Among a throng of other recipes, these were also included: Moonshine Punch; Geera Pork; Green Seasoning, and Grilled Fish with Passion Fruit-Ginger Sauce (sounds divine).  Some of the local fruits and spices grown on the islands that they encountered were pineapples, plantains, tobacco, rice, fennel, guavaberries, bay leaves, mangoes, papayas, coconuts, oranges, breadfruit, cherries, sapodilles, Congo peppers, a cocoa plantation, cloves, sugar, and vanilla.  I wish there were pictures to enjoy but the descriptions will paint pictures in your mind.  I love that the recipes offer teaspoons or cups or pounds, as well as milliliters or grams.  And of course, there's always a healthy dose of rum around every corner.
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Conclusion - From these lovely stories, I feel a trip to the Caribbean coming on.  I think a sister book of photographs should have been published.

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