Set on a beautiful Caribbean island, this is a story filled with calamities and comedy, culinary disasters and triumphs and indelible portraits of the people who live and work there. The story begins when Bob and Melinda Blanchard sell their successful Vermont food business and decide, perhaps impulsively, to get away from it all. Why not open a beach bar and grill on Anguilla, their favourite Caribbean island? One thing leads to another and the little grill turns into an enchanting restaurant that quickly turns into an enchanting restaurant that quickly draws four-star reviews and a celebrity-studded clientele eager for Melinda's delectable cooking. As the Blanchards learn to adapt to island time, they become every more deeply attached to the quirky rhythms and customs of their new home. Until disaster strikes in the shape of Hurricane Luis - a category-4 storm with two-hundred-mile-an-hour gusts which devastates Anguilla. A Trip to the Beach is a love letter to a place that becomes both home and escape.
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Mel and Bob Blanchards' 10-year pursuit of the illusory notion of "island time" is documented in A Trip to the Beach: on a vacation with the family in Barbados, the Blanchards stumble upon a tiny restaurant/shack on a Caribbean beach. In a literary heartbeat, they abandon the "concrete jungle" that was Vermont and open a restaurant on a little-known island in the British West Indies called Anguilla ("rhymes with vanilla").
Narrated by Mel Blanchard, A Trip to the Beach dispels tired notions of the Caribbean--the steel drums, the lush landscapes, and acres of swaying palm trees--and instead focuses on the understated elegance and easy rhythms of the sublimely "flat, and scrubby" island. Though lacking the richness and finesse of Frances Mayes, and the wit and wisdom of Peter Mayle, Mel Blanchard nonetheless forges a new path in travel writing as the Martha Stewart of the Caribbean. A remarkably intuitive and inspired chef, Mel writes poignant passages on running a kitchen in Anguilla. Here she exposes the meat of the story, sharing her many outrageous adventures--how to cater to pampered and demanding guests, how to cook for a full restaurant in the darkest of island night with no electricity, how to prepare for recurring and utterly devastating hurricanes that wipe out your business.
In these chapters the writing is as good as her cooking--inspiring, colourful, and easily digestible. Although she sometimes relies heavily on well-worn clichés and expresses naïve and rather privileged assumptions--"Why would anyone choose to live surrounded by concrete and traffic rather than fishing boats, water and palm trees?"--discerning readers will see the true nature of this tiny island--a place of simplistic beauty that struggles to maintain its independence while it depends on tourism for its livelihood. With a strange concoction of anecdotes, island politics, recipes, and sweet memories, the Blanchards seduce readers with the allure of "island time," bringing Anguilla home to the rest of us. --Daphne DurhamReview:
"a lovely, sassy book full of warmth" ( Daily Telegraph)
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Book Description Ebury Press 01/06/2001, 2001. Book Condition: Good. This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780091879426
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Book Description Ebury Press, London, 2000. Book Condition: Good-Fair. Nicole Kaufman (illustrator). 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Paperback. 296 pages. Clean soft covers, light creases, minor shelf wear, fep neatly removed. Bookseller Inventory # 008968
Book Description EBURY PRESS, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Good condition, some are ex-library and can have markings. Bookseller Inventory # GD-244-62-3553003
Book Description EBURY PRESS. Hardcover. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. Very Good copy, cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. Binding may have light creases. Lots of life left in these pages. Bookseller Inventory # 2613984338