Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Sacred Mango Message

Spring is here and I cannot escape the sacred message the earth is broadcasting all around town: Eat Florida Mangoes
Everywhere I go there they are. Mangoes at the grocery store, mangoes piled high at the corner fruit stand, mangoes wildly strewn with over ripe bananas and a very sad looking apple in the subway magazine shop. Sure these are all normal places to run into a mango or twenty (minus the zine shop of course), but there is something about these mangoes that is not quit right. It is something heart-rending, agonizing, and almost tragic. I can feel them watching me anxiously while in the produce section and it’s beginning to freak me out! What do they want from me?

After fleeing the corner deli, they too had unhappy mangoes, I read an entry on Metrocurean entitled Seeking Indian Mangoes and it instantly made sense. Amanda reports that the first shipment of Indian Alphonso Mangoes to the US in twenty years has thrown foodies in a frenzied state. These mangoes are grown naturally on trees that are hundreds of years old, says Madhur Jaffrey author of the New York Times op-ed story on the subject. These treasures are famous for their creamy texture and powerful flavor. Jaffrey describes them as “Indian masterpieces that are burnished like jewels, oozing sweet, complex flavors acquired after two millenniums of painstaking grafting.” Well then, it’s no mystery why these Florida grown mangoes have fallen into a state of severe despondency.

If there is anyone who can understand serious feelings of inadequacy it is me, and so with a deep sense of agrarian duty, I walked out the door and headed straight for the grocery store. My mission: to cheer up the dejected Florida Mangoes by giving them back their pride and self-worth.

I stomped into the crowded store, “Do you have any FLORIDA grown mangoes?” I asked one of the employees. He pointed toward the back of the store, “ I’m not sure if they are from Florida,” he said with an awkward smile. “We’ll just have to see about that,” I said as I marched off. They were indeed Florida grown and so, after I examined them, I choose four and headed home.
The Internet provides endless instruction on how to delicately cut and cube a mango, but I have always preferred the messy and rustic way of devouring this tasty fruit. Starting off with a juicy mango is imperative. I like to approach mango selecting as I would choosing a partner; a complexion free of dark spots and blemishes is always a healthy sign, and a fresh and honey touched smell is clearly preferable to the rancidly over-ripe cologne of the more ‘mature’ contestants. In the end, it is the sense of touch that always helps me single out my main-squeeze. Skin as firm as a tightly stretched canvas yielding tenderly to the succulent flesh beneath, now that’s what seals the deal in my grocery cart.

Once I get the winner home and out of the bag, I remove the garments and it’s time to dig in.
Who needs utensils when you can hold the wet and slippery carcass with both hands and, like a polar bear with a fresh and wiggling catch, tear off chunks of sinewy pulp with your teeth and suck the juice from the flesh? Jaffrey, being slightly more refined than me, suggests tying a napkin around your neck before digging in, but not me. I prefer to go commando - without a napkin that is. It may sound crude and even crass, but I assure you it is quit sensual. If you don’t believe me that’s okay, eat your mango with a fork like a civilized adult if it makes you happy, only don’t forget to listen for the important message the earth might be trying to send you: eatfloridamangoeseatfloridamangoeseatfloridamangoes

For those of you who are a bit strange and don't like mangoes, yet still feel obliged to support these down-trodden Florida Mangoes, I have a solution. I have an ex-boyfriend who did not like mangoes - needless to say things did not work out between us - but despite this prevailing detail, he did always enjoy this recipe. Give it a try and tell me what you think.
Creamy Mango Dressing
1 - Florida Mango diced
The juice of 1 lime
Splash of heavy cream

Dash of Cayenne pepper
1.Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pure
until smooth
2. Chill for a least one hour before serving
3. Serve over watercress greens and sprinkle liberally with
strawberries and fresh mozzarella

1 comment:

Vivian said...

OHHH your mango post has put me in a tail spin. I want to eat one like a polar bear another in your incredible dressing and for dessert, mango ice cream, all with Indian mangoes of course