One day, you’ll be telling your grandkids about how 2007 was a banner year for American mango lovers. That was the year our government lifted its embargo on Indian mangoes, and the people rejoiced. In my neighborhood, it was like Ganesh himself (or insert your deity of choice) waddled down the street with a box of fruit.
Sadly, I missed the boat on those babies, but determined to sate my craving, I gave Robert Moehling a call and ordered 25 pounds of his Florida-grown Kent mangoes, shipped in a repurposed tomato box with a note attached: “Squeez me.”
They got to me hard enough to be weapons, so I tossed a couple of bananas in the box and let them get a little friendly. After a few days, they began turning red and yellow, giving ever-so-slightly to the touch. They started to smell good, fruity and flowery and a tiny bit like gasoline, and after handling one for a minute, the scent was all over my hands: deep, sweet, dark like leather. Beautiful.
It was time. I cut into one. These things were enormous, and people soon disappeared behind their mangoes, the skin hiding their faces as they slurped off the flesh. It tasted so good, so decadently tropical, the meat smooth as custard, we started burying ourselves in this fruit. I picked up the middle slice with both hands, like a hamburger. Sweet and slippery, I was stuffing that thing in my mouth as fast as I could, trying to beat back that bastard gravity from stealing my juice.
Soon mango was all we could talk about. Emily swore that different parts tasted different, that it was sweeter towards the pit. Molly noted that the redder side smelled like apricot. Karl, otherwise ever-polite, said, “I only know one other thing that gets your face this messy.” I didn’t say anything, too busy licking the juice off my elbow. Finally, after we’d finished and toweled off, Carda knew how we all felt. “I think I’m drunk right now,” she said.
(For a good time, call Robert Is Here at 305-246-1592. Kent mangoes are still in season for maybe another couple of weeks.)