RemembeRED for March 15th

Joining a new ‘meme’ group today – assignment?
This week, we’d like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.
Share a memory of when you first tasted it, where it came from, when you last had it, a favorite way to prepare it, and such.
700 words

This love bloomed late in life – not really sure why it took so long to make this discovery. All I know is that I am so glad I did.

It was a hot, humid summer vacation, spent at one of God’s most beautiful places on this earth – Maui, Hawaii. We were staying in a large, older condominium development just south of Lahaina, where the buildings were low to the ground, the pools were heated almost beyond comfort, and our grandchildren ran with delight down to the beach each day. Not too far from our particular building, there was an enormous tree, with dark green leaves, a profusion of thick branches and green-burnished-with-rose oblong fruit hanging by long, tough stems. That tree was loaded with these oval jewels, and every day a new supply dropped to the ground with a soft thud-thud-thud. Almost daily, we walked over to that shady giant, gathered those fruit that were not too bruised and brought them back to our little kitchen, cradling them like long lost children.

Once in the kitchen, the peeling began. A sharp knife was required to lay back the skin and reveal the brilliant orange-gold flesh of this precious cargo. And a particular skill was developed over the 10 days we spent gathering, peeling, dicing, slurping, dripping with this nectar of the gods: the skill of separating fruit from….hmmm… what shall I call it? Not exactly a seed, but not exactly NOT a seed, either. Each golden treasure was firmly joined to a spongy, pithy center that was not soft and delightful, but fibrous and distinctly not delicious. While we honed this technique, the juice of these lovely things dripped everywhere – down our arms, off our elbows, onto the counter, into the sink, sometimes even onto the floor. And the fragrance was sweet, sweet, sweet.

We cut these beauties into fruit salad, we lopped them into the children’s open mouths, as they waited like baby birds for yet another taste of heaven. We made interesting sweet-spicy salsa, we sucked the centers as dry as we possibly could, we oohed and ahhed and sighed and smiled. Our very favorite thing to do that hot summer holiday? We cut them into chunks, dropped them into the blender, added some skim milk and vanilla ice cream and drank down the sweetest smoothies you can possibly imagine, the perfect remedy for a parched throat. I was nearly 60 years old when I first tasted a mango – and it went immediately to the very top of my favorite foods list – not just a list of fruits or veggies, but food in the largest possible sense. Everything about it pleases me – the flavor, the fragrance, the texture. And, of course, the fact that it grows in the tropics and reminds me, every time I eat it, of that summer sojourn.

I look for them now, at places like Costco or my local grocery produce section. Somehow, they almost never measure up to the ones we gathered for ourselves that summer at Puamana. Not ripe enough. Too ripe. Not flavorful enough. Too pithy. Too pale. Too firm. Still, when I do find a good one – I eat it with relish and delight, thankful that such treasures exist, grateful that I can enjoy them with all my senses. Better late than never!

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  1. Mangos are amazing! Really the perfect fruit. I’m glad that you discovered them, even if it was late.

    My daughter loves mango smoothies too.

  2. I love mangoes.

    I love Hawaii.

    And I *really* love summer! 🙂

  3. Mangos are wonderful if, as you say, you can find them of the correct ripeness. Great description…felt like I was there!…:)JP

  4. This made me crave mangoes and Lahaina. I could feel the warm Hawaiian breezes…thank you for that memory.

  5. I’ve never been to Hawaii. Probably never will. I’ve never tried mango. But I certainly will now. You’ve made sound too good to pass up. Well written.
    Glad you linked up!