Y’all CANNOT understand what this, most unassuming of fruit means to a poor little city boy like myself (New York City, thankee). As a former resident of more tropical climes (that’s Florida, where America goes to Go to God), this time of year, of all times of the year, seems to be the finest. For now is when Kent mangoes are in season. And this is when Indian families thrive.
In India, they’re called Haapoosh, at least as I transliterate it, but universally they’re the sweetest, and least fiber-y. While I’m normally one that doesn’t mind things that are a little stringy or coarse, with mangoes, it is absolutely not allowed. For, in summertime, they’re almost always the crucial part of the ground across which the meal is built. The mango must offer the least resistance to it’s adaptation, it must be prepared to submit to blending, pickling, and being served up raw, but it can’t be spotted in the same way twice. If the mango is fibery, then you’ll know that it’s the same fruit that’s in three parts of your meal, but if it’s a Kent, then the mango will be appropriately invisible, the substance in which lunch/dinner inheres.
First: the mango pickle. The mangoes are cut raw, covered in spices (my mom gets them from India, she knows what’s in them, I can hardly guess, other than there’s lots of chili, and lots of coarse stuff). They’re dried for an afternoon or so, covered in the spices, and soaked in oil to soften over months. Whenever I go back to college, I take a big bottle back, it’s amazing in very plainly cooked lentils and rice with a little yogurt.
Next: the Ruus. Mango blended with ice and sugar. Some heathens would elect to add some rum (I’ve suggested this) but since my family hails from Gandhi’s stomping grounds, no such things will be allowed at the dinner table, if you want something, I’ll make you some tea. What have they been teaching you in college?! Ummmmm…nothing. Sorry.
Last, cut up plain, with almost every meal of the day. The best part is the bit around the seed (the Goatloh), mostly because the juice gets all over your hands and the table. And you can be like a big kid and lick it off and no one looks twice.