Friday, March 19, 2004

What’s the deal with mangoes?

This is a mango, not to be confused with a manjo. You know how things arrive in your life in clusters? Mangoes (and manjoes) seem to be doing that now. First there was Pearl Cleage’s novel, I Wish I Had a Red Dress, and its talk of mango margaritas. Then it was a reshowing of Bend It Like Beckham with its classic line comparing breasts to mangoes. I later picked up a mango at the co-op and carried it home on the bus. It was expensive and beautiful. Then I found out that Stresch had saved some mango from the last batch we bought and frozen it! Oooh, mango whenever we want!

But that fresh mango is my whole point in writing this (besides using the word manjo as many times as possible) is to talk about breakfast this morning and the best way to eat a mango. Make sure the mango is soft but a little resilient, about as soft as a banana is through the peel about a day before the brown spots arrive. This will allow you to cut around the mango. You can go just through the peel or go all the way to the hard, irregularly shaped pit. Slice lengthwise around it so that all of your cuts descend from the stem. Three times around will usually be adequate. Then gently pull up one corner of the peel and pull it off slowly. It will be about 1mm thick, and you can see the coarse grain of this soft fruit.

When you're done and all the peels are in the compost bin, you'll be left with a slippery orange blob. This is when it gets fun. If you're sharing the mango with someone, tell her/him to go into the other room and put some music on or something. Cut it however you can, put make sure not to be too committed to any one knife path. The irregularly shaped pit will soon break you of that. As you slice, put any of the tiny, slippery mango fragments in your mouth (feel free to cut some so that you don't drool on someone else's mango slice), and put the big ones on a plate. I like to slice mine nice and thin so that they're just fat enough to pick them up with a fork. When you've cut down to the point that the prickly pit is coming through, put down the knife and stand over the sink with both hands on the pit. Scrape the last of it off with your teeth, and rinse your hands. Your mango is ready to serve.

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