The intense berating of the rays of the sun on my skin signaled the arrival of the summer, a season I love to hate. I hate it with a passion because the burning rays along with the sticky humid sweat isn’t the best feeling when you want to look and smell your best at a client meeting after un-air conditioned commute. But I love the summer because, along with the rising temperatures, it brings the pile up sunshine yellow fruit of joy on the roadside fruit stands.
Unfortunately, the rise of the desert heat does not signal mango season.
The supermarkets, despite its abundant variety of fruits from all over the world, from neighboring Oman to as far as the Land Down Under, remain barren of my beloved Philippine mangoes.
What’s strange is that despite having been in the desert for some time, my body’s cravings seems to be wired to the Philippine calendar. I have been craving for mangoes for weeks. Yes, there are mangoes from India and other countries, but I have never felt the urge to pick up some as they may disappoint me. I’ve been programmed to believe that the Philippine mangoes are the best in the world and nothing could ever come close to it in taste. But still the mango craving plagued me…
I have to settle with what I have here in the desert. And settle I did with a bottle of mango chutney: sticky like jam with hefty mango chunks and speckles of unidentified spices. (I still have to practice my spice identification skills, but I could detect hints of cinnamon in the chutney.) But I think that God heard my persistent mango plea that mango chutney wasn’t enough to satisfy my appetite for my sunshine summer fruit, because, aside from the mango chutney, He sent down another mango treat from a paratha (i.e. layered Indian flat-bread)-bearing angel.
Arva brought me an Indian mango dessert, obviously alien to my mango loving palate. It was alien, but it came in peace with its creamy, sunshine yellow, pistachio laced wiggly jiggle. It’s mango-ness was calling me by my name! Gaaah!
So I rushed up the building with a stack of oven warm paratha in hand, shaking from excitement over a cuppa of mango dessert. And so I opened the plastic cup filled with mango goodness, dug a heaping spoonful of sunshine and shoved it into my mango aching mouth.
Ahhhhhh…the familiar sweet tang!
Then there came the unfamiliar combination of mango with cardamom and saffron, followed by the smooth creamy and salty finish (I don’t mind salty because it reminded me somehow of cheese). I still have to get used to the spice, but I was already so happy with the cup of sunshine fruit in my hand that I was transported to our kitchen back home, where I sat down with my mama and sisters, devouring cheek after cheek of juicy fresh ripe mangoes, while laughing at each other’s jokes as the sweet juice dribbled down our chins.
Oh, how I love the summer…
Delirious about delicious,