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Caribbean Cuisine Book Reviews

Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause
by Wendy Wilkinson, Donna Lee, Morgan Freeman

To raise money in support of the Grenada Relief Fund for victims of 2004's Hurricane Ivan, Morgan Freeman has solicited a bevy of Hollywood celebrities to adorn this compilation of Caribbean recipes with their familiar images. Alfre Woodard admires Mustique. Tom Hanks lauds St. Barth's. Tim Robbins recalls good times in St. Croix. Katie Couric shares her vacation in Anguilla. Ben Vereen revels in Jamaica. From these island resorts, local restaurateurs share recipes they serve their guests. Befitting these beachy locales, recipes feature seafood and tropical produce. Fruit soups, composed salads, lobster with herbed butter, and chocolate shells filled with coconut ice cream well define the product of laid-back resort kitchens. Such sophisticated examples of contemporary cuisine contrast with more traditional dishes such as ackee with salt fish, jerk chicken, and peas and rice. Color photographs throughout show off both the food and the photogenic celebrities.





Jerk from Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style
by Helen Willinsky

Willinsky, a Jamaican native, first published this volume in 1990, and in this lively and completely revised edition, she begins by explaining exactly what jerk is ("an authentic Jamaican method of cooking pork, chicken, seafood, beef, fruits, and vegetables over a fire pit or on a barbeque grill") and how it's seasoned (in general, a combination of scallions, onions, thyme, pimento, cinnamon, nutmeg, chilies and salt). She first explains how it's done in Jamaica (where jerk huts can be found everywhere), then demonstrates how these recipes can be adapted to a kitchen or backyard grill. Recipes for jerk rubs, dry seasonings and marinades are included in the first chapter, as well as a list of traditional Jamaican ingredients, like breadfruit, a large starchy vegetable. Chapters devoted to jerk pork, chicken, seafood, beef, lamb and goat recipes follow. Some are simple and traditional (Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat), while others are variations using jerk seasoning like meat loaf, lamb kebobs, and stir-fried beef). Side dish recipes include Fried Plantains and Steamed Callaloo, a leafy green popular in Jamaica. Bright, colorful photos accompany these accessible recipes.






An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude
by Ann Vanderhoof

What could be better than dropping all of life's mundane day-to-day activities and setting course for the adventure of a lifetime? In the mid-1990s, Steve and Ann Vanderhoof did just that when they packed up their belongings, put their careers on hold, rented out their home, and set sail for a two-year tour of the Caribbean. At the helm of a 42-foot sailboat, Ann and Steve travel more than 7,000 nautical miles and visit 16 countries, taking readers on a lively tour of the flavors, sights, and sounds of the Caribbean. Whether it's enjoying a meal with the locals, participating in festivities, or discovering the secrets of the islands, Ann writes of the rewards of living an uncharted life under the stars. Beautifully written passages transport readers to pristine beaches under azure skies. A detailed travelogue and an intimate portrait of self-discovery, this is a refreshing, soulful journey about rediscovering the things that really matter.






Sweet Hands: Island Cooking From Trinidad And Tobago
by Ramin Ganeshram

Sweet Hands" is an enjoyable acquisition for Caribbean cuisine novices and those who were raised on the fare. It is a tender tribute to the author's father... A book filled with enticing recipes, Ganeshram conjures strong memories. The 247 pags of recipe delight.






Three Guys from Miami Cook Cuban
by Glenn M. Lindgren, Raul Musibay & Jorge Castillo

This cookbook boasts solid renditions of Cuban dishes and the three authors have a Cuban culture Web site, www.iCuban.com. A brief introduction entices with information about Cuban migration to Miami, but margin notes to the recipes tend toward repetitious and obvious exchanges. A recipe for Fried Stuffed Potatoes, for example, begins with Raúl commenting, "This is one Cuban snack that if you haven't tried, you probably don't know what in the heck it is." Still, the food itself is alluring. Avocado and Pineapple Salad is refreshingly unusual, and marinating Cuban-Style Skirt Steak in a mix of onion, herbs and sour orange juice before grilling delivers maximum flavor with minimal work. The authors nicely cover savory snacks like Cornmeal Pancakes, numerous types of empanadas, and Plantain Chips. They also remain true to authentic Cuban cuisine by not skimping on the frying, though fat-phobic Americans will probably avoid the Fried Pork Chunks.






Douglas Rodriguez's Latin Flavors on the Grill
by Douglas Rodriguez

Rodriguez recently left Manhattan's popular Patria restaurant to open Chicama, where he continues to receive raves for his "nuevo Latino" cooking. His latest book presents 100 grilling recipes featuring the bold, lively flavors for which he is known.





Culinaria: The Caribbean
by Rosemary Parkinson

This is a culinary adventure of the 7,000 mesmerizing isles crisscrossing the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean. The lands of this 'heaven on earth' brim with tropical fruit and strange vegetables, while the waters teem with a multitude of exotic fish and shellfish. Together, they provide the ingredients for a cuisine extraordinaire, so open your palate and taste the Caribbean! Twenty-four chapters cover the culinary idiosyncrasies of Cuba, Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua and Aruba, to name just a few. Culinaria: The Caribbean is an all-encompassing, spicy and delicious journey that should not be missed.


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