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54 T R O P I C M A G A Z I N E Mango Madness tropic kitchen Text Sybil Robert My friend bought a house on Lauderdale Beach a few years ago, in an Intracoastal neighborhood known as Dolphin Isles. e lush backyards and quiet streets are invit- ing, and it's a lovely little house, less than two blocks from A1A and the beach. On quiet nights in the winter, you can hear the whitecaps pounding the shore. But out in the backyard, he told me, he had a problem. In the center of a yard is a huge mango tree, one that produces hundreds of mangos a year. I was not in the mood to hear Florida's version of the Midwest's tedious tales of tomato trouble. e tomato, a dreary fruit masquerading as a vegetable to enhance its appeal, has been the subject of roughly a million narratives about coping with overly productive vines. Was this going to be a tale of paper ba gs filled with mangos left on neighbors' lawns in the middle of the night? Grudgingly, I admitted that this wasn't quite the same as the tomato sagas. He hadn't actually planted the tree, after all. But couldn't he just rake them up and throw them out? en one day in early June, I tasted a mango from this tree. It was incredibly deli- cious. Literally. It was not credible that this piece of fruit should be so heavenly. e texture was toothsome, the taste a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, the juice a true nectar. So this was what New Yorkers were paying $10 apiece for over summer. I suddenly grasped the dilemma: He had moved into a house with a tree that bears perfect mangos. If you have a tree in the backyard that produces an astoundingly de- licious fruit, in bulk, a feeling of obligation does emerge—obligation to enjoy and share! Some people say that a big mango tree can flower and fruit for more than 80 years—so the problem is not going away! How did my friend and his property get into this dilemma? Mangos are not even native to south Florida. ey followed a circuitous route to get here—the first step was evidently taken by East Asian traders carrying mango seeds with them to the Mi ddle East. During the 16th century, the sea-faring Portuguese introduced the mango to Africa, from whence it was brought to Brazil in the 1700s. Mangos reached Mexico in the early 1800s, and finally reached Florida in the late 1800s. So here we were in 2018, counting mangos. Hundreds of them. If you have a tree in the backyard that produces an astound- ingly delicious fruit, in bulk, a feeling of obligati on does emerge – obligation to enjoy and share! 54 T R O P I C M A G A Z I N E

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