The word mango is stolen from the Portuguese manga, which was probably stolen from some other language. This doesn’t quite explain where the ‘o’ comes from, but as with many things in the English language, it doesn’t have to make sense, does it? Mangoes grow on trees. Specifically: mango trees. They typically live for centuries and grow to about 115–130 feet tall. Mango trees regularly grow evergreen leaves. The leaves focus on developing the flowers, which are small and white with five petals each. The fruit, a mango, typically takes three to six months to ripen.
Mangoes come in several colors and sizes. Unfortunately, the mango season is already over. So I’ll be speaking from my lifelong experience with the yellow Sindhiri mangoes of Pakistan.
Regardless of its skin color, the inside of a mango is a mixture of sun orange and sunflower yellow. From the moment you peel off the skin, you can feel the sweet nectar of a mango. Your hands squirm as they try to retain control of the fruit. The inexperienced rarely have masterful hands for this task. This reviewer suggests inviting him for the reader’s first mango experience unless the reader wants the mango to escape from the clenches of his teeth and onto the floor.
So how do you cut a mango, anyway? There are three schools of thought on this well-researched subject matter. The Classical Method involves peeling the mango and cutting it into cubes for consumption with a fork. It is perfect for a lady or gentleman, but the experts have demonstrated that it is not nearly as fun as the two other methods. The second method is the Standard Method. It involves cutting the mango into oblong shapes: both fruit and skin. This method leaves a particularly sweet and juicy seed. One of the greatest parts of eating a mango is the interaction with the seed. Go ahead: be assertive, flirt with it, play with it; it won’t say “NO!”, it won’t say, “Stop!” However, my favorite method for eating a mango is the Natural Method. The Natural Method involves peeling the mango and digging in with your teeth. Warning: this method is not for everyone and it’s not a particularly clean or well-mannered affair. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only way to experience mangoes.
Mangoes aren’t just about taste. That’s only half the experience, if that. There’s the smooth slippery feel, the cool fruit sliding down your throat, and even once you’re done eating the mango and the skin has been disposed of, one final task remains. There is sweet mango nectar on your face, on your fingers. You try to grab a napkin to clean your face up, but it doesn’t work; it sticks to your face, to your fingers. Sure, you could head to the bathroom and clean up, or you could put your tongue to task and clean up the “natural” way (which is where this method gets its name).
Mangoes are great for eating on their own, but that’s not all they are good for: they are multi-talented. I know of three equally delectable mango chutney recipes: sweet, sour, and spicy. Then there is the expensive, but always delicious, mango juice. And finally, a personal favorite: mango lassi, a concoction which includes milk, mango, sugar, and sometimes yogurt. One could say “I don’t eat fruit,” or “I don’t drink milk-based products,” or even “I don’t like juice,” but I doubt anyone could say he doesn’t consume any of the three. So go ahead, try out a mango, and prepare to experience the love.