Thursday, September 11, 2008


I grew up in one of the fruit belts of Canada. Berries, peaches, pears, apples, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe - all of it is plentiful in the summer and early fall. My mother's idea of dessert was fruit, not just in the summer but all year long. My idea of dessert was chocolate cake, cherry pie, or brownies.

But I've discovered a fruit here in Mexico that is at least as good as chocolate cake. The mango, a fruit I never knew much about until Miguel brought it home from the mercado one day. He carved it up and I tasted it - WOW! What a sweet, juicy, delicious mouthful of fruit. I was quickly hooked and expected mango for breakfast every day for the rest of my life (I didn't know the mango was not available year-round).

Preparing the morning fruit plate became my breakfast task. I learned how to carve the mango, eating any remaining fruit directly off the seed. We shared one or two mangos every day.

At first it was my lips that felt odd - dry, rough, and itchy; I blamed the sun. Then my eyelids also started to itch and burn, and I was constantly rubbing my eyes. I finally made the connection and realized I was allergic to mango. I researched on the internet and discovered that many people have similar symptoms - it is actually quite common. Mango allergy is related to sensitivity to other things such as poison ivy and cashews (which also cause a reaction if I eat too many, such as half a can (or so) during Christmas holidays).

Eventually the mango went out of season, and my itchy lips and eyes cleared up, confirming my suspicions. But I longed for my mango, and when it came back into season this year, I didn't hesitate to eat it again. However, now I do not eat off the seed, nor do I eat the smaller 'side' slices, and right after I finish my breakfast I clean my hands and mouth with running water to remove any residue from the peel. So far so good, I haven't really been itchy from mango for months, unless that is what is causing the mysterious itch on my spine?

Sometimes the mango we buy looks a little worse for wear - a little spongy and the skin is full of black spots. I used to think those mangoes were rotten, but have since learned that it is usually only the skin that looks bad; inside the fruit is usually very ripe and sweet.

Sometimes we are forced (twist our arms!) to eat mango that is not quite ready. Just a little green around the edges, but those are the ones where I can taste the bitterness of the skin and that seems to kick up my allergy.

I'm not the only one in the house addicted to mango; Minina also likes her daily feast. We will be in the kitchen preparing breakfast and Minina will suddenly appear at my feet. She will cry until we give her a piece of mango. But she's very particular - she smells the fruit first, and usually gobbles down one or two pieces. Occasionally she doesn't eat it, and then you can be sure it's not quite ripe. Minina is my mango meter, letting me know that I'm about to eat a mango that may cause a reaction.


Anonymous said...

Mango Pie?

I always said you should be "The Pie Lady of Isla Mujeres"

Mango Pie could be your claim to fame and fortune!

Bennie said...

Poor Minina having to serve as a test animal to check your Mango's. Next thing you will be testing your makeup on her. You better treat my kitty better down there SU-E.

I have to say the Mango down there is far better than what I can get in the states. After being turned on to it when I visited you, I had to try it when I got home and what a disappointment.

Sue said...

Anon (Scott) - I looked up mango pie recipes after your post - I will try it one day! Also mango cake!

Bennie - You'll just have to come back down to enjoy the mango (although it is getting close to end of season, I believe). Minina has stopped eating it so it is either picked too green, or it's over-ripe, at least in her book - she's not buying it.

NinjaMom said...

I had an allergic reaction the first few times that I tried mangoes. The Dr. I saw told me that it was possible that I would become desensitized to the mango-which seems to be the case, because I don't have any problems eating them as an adult. Maybe it will be the same for you!

Sue said...

Ninja - I am thinking I am becoming less sensitive. Hope so, thanks for the info.