MANGOES!!!

gosh i love mangoes. i have not seen any around that recently. i remember when i was young, my sisters and i would always look forward to may–mango season! my aunty had a huge mango tree in her yard and whenever we all went to grandma’s for sunday dinner, she’d bring 3 bags full of mangoes–one bag usually for our family (dad, mom, and sisters), one bag for my uncle’s family, and one bag was shared between my grandma and other aunty and uncle, since at the time, they were all unmarried and didn’t have families yet. man, i loved those mangoes. my mom would cut them checkerboard style and we’d turn them inside out and just chomp on them. then we’d fight over the little scraps she’d cut away from the pit. yummmm.

my aunty who owns the tree would always take the leftovers near the end of the season and make pickled mangoes, which i LOVED…i still have vivid memories of being in 1st or 2nd grade, sitting down, doing my homework, with a bowl of pickled mango at my side. gosh i loved that sour taste! she’d also make mango bread and give each family a loaf toward the end of mango season. i LOVED mango bread more than banana bread, regular bread, anything…soo yummy.

it was like a ritual, every may, to get the bags of mangoes, about every other week until the end of summer. then by august, september, we’d get the pickled mango and mango bread. mmmm.

however, the past 10 or so years…maybe even longer, for i cannot remember even getting mangoes when i was in college…have been out of the routine. no longer would my aunty bring bags of mangoes–at the most, she would bring like maybe, 2. not bags, but just 2 fruit. she’d catch people in her yard, stealing mangoes off the tree, no shame…they bring their own paper bag, climb the fence, and pick the mangoes of the tree. she’d run them off her property, but they’d come back the next day. they’d take all her mangoes. around this time, i remember reading articles about how people would go around stealing mangoes from other people’s yards…i remember one was a guy whose pregnant wife was craving mango, and he was caught picking mangoes off of someone’s tree.

my aunty will still bring maybe 1 or 2 mangoes to my grandma’s house, but she always gives it to my grandma, rightfully so. i don’t think it’s so much now that the mangoes are being stolen, but that her tree is old. she thinks her tree is now barren. she doesn’t know if it’s insects or some sort of tree disease? or maybe just its age? sometimes i wonder if someone put a hex on her tree when she drove them off for stealing her mango.

i remember in college, in my writing class…people had to write about their childhood, and everyone who grew up here always had tales that involved mango! mainland people couldn’t relate, but everyone that grew up here would nod and laugh when hearing the tales of being a kid and eating mangoes. the one thing i could not imagine, though, was hearing people eating mangoes with shoyu and sugar! i thought ick! but i guess it’s common on kaua’i. i think mangoes are fine just the way they are.

so it has been a long time since i had a mango. not only because my aunty couldn’t give us any more, but even in the store, the prices were expensive. plus, i went off fruit for my diet for several years. but whenever i think of “mango” (especially when it’d be mentioned often, like in the snl skit of Mango), i think back to childhood days, at my grandma’s house on sundays, so happy when we’d see my aunty drive up, and all my cousins coming out of her car, carrying bags that we knew were filled with mangoes. the good old days.

well the other day, having been off my diet for several months, i saw a fruit salad at a buffet i went to, and thought, okay, i’d have some. i ate the melons and strawberries…but saw some orange slivers and thought, wow, i never saw cantelope that orange before…but i bit into it … and yummy of all yummies, it was a mango!!! i was instantly transported back to childhood time. yummmm. mango! i quickly looked around in my fruit salad and saw another orange bit, so i left it on the side, so i could eat it last and have that taste of mango linger in my mouth throughout the day. i ate all the rest of the fruit, and other foods, and then went for that last orange bit, hungry for the mango taste. i bit into it…and it was papaya. argh! i was so upset. i like papaya, but when you’re expecting mango…it’s a whole different thing.

so since then, i had mango on my mind. how happy i was to see that safeway had an ad for mangoes 2 lbs for a $1!!!! wow! usually i’d see mangoes go for $3.99 a pound! 2 lbs for a $1?!?!? i stocked up. i chilled them. cut a few open the next morning and ahhhhhh…heaven. i gave a piece to my son and he too fell in love with it. i had to go out and buy more mangoes even though the price is now $1.59 a pound…still, cheaper than what i remember seeing a few years ago. makes me wonder what happened … were mangoes threatened with some sort of disease or fruit fly or something? why the scarcity of mangoes for that span of time? to the point that people were stealing from other people’s yards? i wonder what happened. they seem to be coming back now, although my aunty’s tree is still not giving her fruit. sigh, no more pickled mango, no more mango bread. well i guess i could make it with the mango that i buy…but honestly, the mango doesn’t last that long. we eat it up almost instantly. there’s never any leftover to make all of that 🙂

come to think of it…same with lychee too. you don’t see it around as often, at least i don’t…we don’t get those free bags any more from people who just have too much and want to share. and i haven’t seen it in the store lately either, though i don’t know if it’s because it’s not the season? and i haven’t really been looking, either, it was just a side thought…but wow, now i’m ‘ono for lychee too, heehee!

off to finish up the last of my mango. the supply at safeway is dwindling, so i’m guessing the season is ending, or mango afficianados like me are buying them all up quickly! heehee. will check tomorrow to see if they still have ripe ones 😀

just a few links:
Mango Information (mango is a southern food?!?!?)
Pickled Mango recipe YUMMMMMMMMM!
Mango Bread another YUMMMMM! though i don’t know if it’s the same recipe as the one my aunty made. for the above pickled mangoes, too, the picture has them looking orange…the ones my aunty made were green…mmmm. my mouth is watering!!!

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1 Comment

  1. Mokihana Said:

    I just wen add a story on my blog about mangos. Loved your story… brought back so many memories of da mango trees in our front yard.


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