Mmmmmmmmmango… yes, mango is what I picked for my journey through childhood once again with my kids.
Growing up in India, the start of summer always meant (and still means) mangoes everywhere – on the trees, in the house, in the markets; and of all shapes, sizes, and varieties; and consumed in so many different ways –
the fruits – ripe, juicy, yummmy, drool-worthy fruit; and over 400 varieties to choose from..
the raw mango – tangy, sour, crisp spiced with a bit of chili powder and salt, and yet again drool-worthy in it’s own way;
the pickles – so many different forms across India that it is difficult to list them all (but you can hear the smacking of lips all around);
the juices, milkshakes, lassi (ripe mango with buttermilk);
the spreads, preserves (murabba, anyone?), chutneys;
and more not listed here!
|Image Attribution: http://www.walkthroughindia.com/|
So there we were, the three of us, mommy and kids, on the terrace of grandmom’s maternal home with a basket containing at least a dozen ripe neelams (a popular variety of mango all over India and grown locally in my mother-in-law’s home town region of Kumbakonnam in Tamil Nadu). I was armed with a knife and the kids waited eagerly for their sweet treats. Normally, we just bite into ripe mangoes and eat them – for most varieties, skin and all – all the way to the seed. But these neelams (pictured here in the right) grown in an aunt’s farm were pesticide free (organic, so to say) and could possibly have bugs (I am guessing weevils).. and the fruit might look perfect outside but you might just end up biting into a bug..eeeks..So my job – cut the mangoes, ensure they were bug free (or free the mangoes of the bug-infested parts – those were the ripest, sweetest mangoes of the lot!) and my kids’ job – well, devour them.. (and save a bit for mommy).. Before we knew it, the three of us had gone through the whole basket and that was a totally heavenly meal!
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