Mangoes for me, obviously. But trust me to place a photo of a mango-topped torte instead of an actual mango!
The encroaching heat has become near insufferable, and summer’s not officially begun. By this time, the sun’s lengthy rays cut wide swathes of blistering swelter, making us all run for cover. For food lovers, we seek the succor of cool relief.
Hello, mango! These golden fruits herald summer’s start, their taut and glistening skins are golden like the sun but cool, their juice sweet and drippy. Most people like to eat these fruits cold or even frozen, like an instant sorbet. Chefs have fancy ways of separating skin from flesh through a handy drinking glass; others wield a knife to trace and tear, fashioning upturned flowers from skins pushed in to make the fruit pop out: an instant fruity bouquet.
Me, I dispense with formality and utensils. It’s just me and the mango. I peel the skin off at the tip and – carefully, oh so carefully – I unwind it the way I do a suman. It’s resistant at first, and then it unfurls its majestic treasure. Now whole and peeled, I eat the entire fruit bent over the kitchen sink, my mouth hungrily looking for the next unbitten pulp. To do so, my head is at peculiar angles, positioned in the way I eat a taco or right before I kiss my husband on the mouth. Juice drips down my arms; I let it, so occupied am I. When all that’s left is a fibrous seed, I lick my fingers, sometimes my wrists. I’d lick my elbows too, if I could.
Oh, succulent summer.
So, just like the mango, Manila’s mystical fruit of summer, tell me: What’s the food that signals for you that summer is here?
Note: M.I.Y.O. Monday stands for Make It Your Own Monday, a question thrown out to DCF readers every Monday to jumpstart the week with lively interaction. I also welcome questions and suggestions for future MIYO Mondays. Email me.