It hung rosy golden in the summer haze, shaped like a human heart. The first mango I remember, grown on the lone tree in my grandmother’s back garden. It was an ungenerous tree, producing only a few fruit each year, and I only shared in its bounty if I happened to be visiting Gran when the fruit ripened. But I lusted for the fragrance, for the taste of mangoes from one season to the next.
Then we moved to the country, to an old orchard where there were three huge mango trees and more mangoes than we could eat.
An English family planted the orchard there more than a hundred and fifty years ago. They buried their dead children beneath the mango trees after a big fire burned their first house down. I thought of those children buried in the ground, when I sat high among the branches each January, eating mangoes, the juice running down my arms.
Today I enjoyed my first mango although it is still Spring. They are early this year..
There is an art to eating a mango. This is an exercise in mindfulness. First you take the golden fruit, place it before you. Observe it. Notice the colour, the heart shape, feel the weight and the texture of the skin. Inhale the fragrance. Anticipate the flavour.
Peel it gently and slice the fruit into a bowl. Then be quite uncivilised, lean over the sink and suck the rest of the flesh from the seed. Don’t waste one scrap. Then thank the mango tree.
You’ll find sliced mango tastes much better than those stylish cubes ejected from the sliced off cheeks of the mango.
Living in suburbia, I buy my mangoes from the greengrocer. They do not taste half as good as mangoes picked sun-warmed from the tree in midsummer.
Photo; whatthefact.com from google images.