Saturday, May 13, 2006

how i love thee mango

My first introduction to mangos was late in life, considering my mother's obsession with fruit. It took place in Downtown Los Angeles. (Actually that's a lie -- i vaguely recall a tall oddly-shaped jar in the fridge of something called ambeh -- pickled mangoes -- in my childhood home. My dad ate it. It smelled bad. Having never experienced the fruit au naturel at that point, though, I had no idea this pungent mustardy-colored business had any origins in the natural world. Perhaps one day I'll change my tune on it.) So, we had gone downtown, my mom, my sister, and I, to visit my cousin's clothing store. Violet (that's Mom; we're on a first-name basis) made a stop at a tiny stand on a street corner and ordered us a mango. The man took a peeled mango, made diagonal slices all around it from the top of the mango towards the stone, squeezed a lime over it, making sure to get into the slices, and sprinkled it with really spicy chili powder (I later learned that this lime/chili combo is a super-common seasoning for fruits and a lot of other stuff in Mexico. Yet another fine contribution from Mexico to our LA palette). Stuck a stick in it, and handed it to us. As we walked, Violet held the mango, and we all broke off spears, made a sticky juicy mess, and savored every bite. Mango man, I thank you for setting us up in what has become a very solid relationship!

I'm not sure where mangoes are eaten/grown. I always thought they were tropical, but a trip to Maui without witnessing a single mango proved me wrong. I know they're big in India, and I believe we ate them when I was in Egypt. Hmm. Regardless, I love them deeply. I make a fruit salad with mangoes that is probably the recipe I am most confident about -- it's amazingly fresh and delicious. One day when I have reason to make it (it's the best thing to take to a potluck) I'll post the recipe. It's really good.

For today though, it's just me, and we are not making salad. We are making breakfast. And we're making it simply. The components: coffee, mango. Although I like the whimsy of the crosshatch method they have you cut mangoes these days, as Violet would tell you, it's pretty wasteful. So, I just cut it into workable pieces, peeled it with a sharp knife, then sliced it into spears. At this point, you can add any flavoring you like -- today I strayed from the Mexican theme and just added some orange zest, cinnamon, and a little sugar. Just add coffee -- instant breakfast!

There's plenty you can do with a mango -- salsa and smoothies are both delicious; crosshatched and grilled brings out the sweetness. I've been meaning to try a relish/salsa cruda thing with basil and balsamic vinegar to have with fish. Or you can just do as Sark says: "Eat Mangoes Naked. Lick the juice off your arms."


  1. The lack of mention of my mango salsa from a couple weeks ago almost ended my long time readership...but the ricotta/syrup thing was JUST weird enough to suck me back in.

  2. anonymous (whose name rhymes with schmodi) - i'm pretty impressed with the long-time readership considering the thing's been up about a week! it's true, i was remiss in leaving out the yummy mango salsa, but my tastebuds were blinded by the deliciousness of the rosemary nuts and i remember absolutely nothing else from the entire night. fear not -- i have a feeling a certain dinner party coming up will be all over this thing. and yeah, hi, i'm weird.

  3. A picture of the coffee and mango was nice, but a picture of naked mango eating would have been better.