In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How To Eat Indian Mangoes The Way I Learned in Osama Bin Laden's Third Wife's House in Kabul: NSFW

News peg: Osama bin Laden gunned down in Pakistan.

How To Run Your Life* tie in:

I grew up eating mangoes right off the tree in Florida (Palm Beach County, to be exact. Home of the Hanging Chad). Mango whip, mango fool, raw mango, mango fruit salad... you name it, we ate it. My grandfather had an enormous mango tree and he would pick the fruit, cut it into cubes and surrepticiously stick it in our freezer while my mother and father were at work. It was a surfeit of mangoes and one had to be furtive if one meant to get rid of it all.

You eat a Florida mango by cutting through the skin down either sid of the flat pit, then scoring the flesh and turning the skin inside out. Golden cubes of mango present themselves for easy, if messy, eating.

So I thought I knew mangoes.

Fast forward to 2002. I was in Kabul, staying in Peter Juvenal's guest house near the Interior Ministry. It had previously been the home of Osama Bin Laden's third wife -- until 9/11 and the U.S. invasion, that is. It had a nice apricot tree in the courtyard and was the most comfortable, clean place for foreigners to stay.

I was sitting with a bunch of Brits when the house staff served us these mangoes (unlike any I had seen before). They taught me the proper way to do it. It's a little naughty, as you will see.

These mangoes - I think of them as Indian or Pakistani or Afghan mangoes, but I believe the variety is called Ataulfo (and Whole Foods in DC has a special on them: 10 for $10!) -- are sweet and almost completely fiber-free. So here's what you do.

1. Cut a horizontal line around the mango all the way to the pit, like you might do with an avocado.

2. Gripping one half with each hand, twist the two sides apart.

3. What emerges is phallic. It gets worse.

4. Suck and scrape all the delicious golden flesh off the exposed pit.

5. Then clamp down on the pit with your molars, and twist the remaining half of the mango off the pit.

6. Repeat step 4.

7. Now you should have 2 gorgeous mango cups, ready for a spoon. If you are serving these to guests, do this bit in the kitchen with the doors closed, over the sink. It's messy but delicious. And fairly provocative. (If you want, you can dribble a little honey and lime in each half, or dust their cavity with cayenne pepper. But they are fine as is.)

1 comment:

  1. I tried this to wondrous results! Thank you (& your English friends) for sharing this handy trick. I've already told three people!


    Heather @ Find That Warm Fuzzy Feeling