My most vivid memory of mangoes is from my trip to the Philippines last summer. I went on a nutrition volunteering trip and on the weekend visited a local beach. Me and three friends lugged fresh mangoes from the market in our backpacks, when we arrived and stripped down to our bikinis, we laid down our towels, peeled a mango each and sat in a circle gingerly eating our treats.
Five minutes had not even passed when one of us accidently let the fruit slip from our hands and it flopped into the sand. Not long after booing, and feeling bad for her, another mango joined the beach. Thankfully, I held firmly to mine and ate it even slower. Accidents like these are not forgivable.
Yet, I usually eat mangoes differently. First and foremost, serious inspection is required. A ripe mango has skin that reveals hints of aging: wrinkled at the ends and a light scattering of brown freckles.
With a knife and cutting board, I slit the fruit’s sides to reveal a silky surface. The interior discloses a deep yellow, just like its peel. I cup one boat-shaped halve with my hands and bring it to my nose, breathing in its sweet alluring aroma, tickling my senses. I cut a half inch grid across each halve, a ritual that always reminds me of my grandpa who taught me how to eat mangoes. Peeling the fruit and eating it whole just isn’t the same.
Armed with my spoon, I slowly carve into my miniature squares, allowing each piece to pop out. Grinning, I bring a spoonful to my mouth, barely biting into the slippery meat, as it slides around my tongue. It has a cool, pleasantly sweet flavour. I swallow and gingerly scoop out the remainder of my favourite fruit. Within a few tasty moments, the easy part is done. Now the seed.
My mom always leaves me the middle, she despises how the mango floss (hmm, doesn’t that sound pleasant?) gets stuck in your teeth. I’m no wimp with food, I savor that part, slowly taking in the rest of the fruit and chewing on the core to really suck out the juices. I sit there with mango stains all over my hands, juices running down my arms, and yellow staining around my mouth. Oh but its so worth it.
I failed to find pictures of real mangoes, but I do have snapshots of mango flavored foods. Here is a mind blowingly delicious mango-coconut gelato on a particularly warm day in Montreal--bursting of flavor and the texture was a shock, very thick and smooth.
And some more cold sweets, mango sorbet from Haagen Daaz, a delectable nighttime snack.
How do you eat your mangoes?