Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mango Tango

Mangos. You need them. And here's why.

A few months back my friend C Diddy and I got our shopping on one Saturday. While our primary goal was to hit up Urban Outfitters, I also had a Bed Bath & Beyond trick up my sleeve. Reason? At that point, it was actually an olive pitter, because of course life is too short to not have one, and all you ever have to do to realize this is attempt to make olive tapenade with just your paring knife and a mild hangover. However, upon entering the kitchen kingdom and seeing the hand appliance Wall O'Plenty, I knew my life would not be complete until I also had an Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter. In fact, I gasped and said, "Clayton, I think I would eat more mangoes if I had this mango splitter." 

In the summer of Aught 5, I was visiting my family in Mobile (Wilmer, to be precise) from Arkansas. I was freshly single, maybe still a little stunned, and my aunt and I decided on a random Saturday afternoon to utilize the mangoes I'd brought with me from my kitchen, since they'd have otherwise rotted by the time I returned from the trip. We opted for mango margaritas. The first batch was so amazing - she, myself, my mom and my sister unanimously agreed - that we jumped in her car and ran up to the Wilmer produce stand hellbent on finding more for pitcher 2. We did. They were equally as memorable. In fact, it's those moments I always remember first about family and friends: random, unplanned, spontaneous occurrences that engage us at our root level and serve no purpose other than a framework for love, respect and admiration. We all need to feel those moments more. And speaking of roots, mangoes grow deep in ours. My grandmother was a native of St. Cloud, Florida, which is near Kissimmee (which she pronounced "Ku-sih-ma,") and her love for mangoes was demonstrated by her discerning standards for selecting them. She was with us on the afternoon we decided to mix their magic with tequila and Triple Sec.

In the same vein, one of my best friends who spontaneously appeared in my life a little over 3 years ago informed me he was bringing mango margaritas to an outside event in his hometown of Atlanta a few summers back. I knew from experience that was an arduous task (there's a reason why mangoes are so good - the effort of peeling them can be rather daunting). And so when I showed up at his house to help, I wasn't surprised to find his kitchen an orange mushy mess, and his forehead beading with sweat and his face full of Mango Regret. The margaritas? Stellar, of course. I won't ever forget that day either. After 3 I challenged a complete stranger to an Indian Leg Wrestling match in Piedmont Park. Fueled by my special ingredient, it was short work.

I share with another aunt a gift/curse as a Zodiac Cancer/Leo + Chinese Year Pig. I represent the Cancer Pigs. My mother discovered this for us just a few months ago, actually. Earlier this year we were having a mutual preening (read "group therapy") conversation and I said, "You know, I'm just always seeking a better system." She wholeheartedly agreed. As it turns out, we are both prone to invest in appliances and tools that make a job more efficient and easy. My mother uses the same sad little potato peeler she has had for 45 years, despite the fact I've bought her several others over the years. That's what makes the world go around, of course. But if you're prone to avoid mango consumption because you're intimidated or put-off by peeling them, I highly encourage adding the Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter to your kitchen arsenal.

And if you do, I hope the resulting stories are as rich in love and memory as the fruit is antioxidants. 

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