Thursday, May 10, 2007

Looky, Looky!

Pretty Lady is Beside Herself. k just Priority Mailed her a box of real live Florida mangoes. Pretty Lady is sticky, happy and a little buzzed. She wonders if certain types of mangoes might have a slightly psychotropic effect, when consumed exuberantly, after a mango-free five years in Brooklyn.

As a tribute, both to the generosity of this gift and to the temperament of k, Pretty Lady decided to photograph the mangoes (before consumption) on her humble Fire Escape.

You see that the mangoes, center, far eclipse the cluttered pots of baby gladioli, baby poppies, baby morning glories, and baby sweet peas.

Only Pretty Lady could really care about such babies. But since she has known them since they were little dry seeds in envelopes, she is infatuated with them, and has spent a lot of time on the fire escape recently, checking on them.

In the course of checking on her babies, it has been borne in upon Pretty Lady that the view from her fire escape is, perhaps not spectacular, but somewhat out of the common way. First, there is a church steeple directly ahead, backed by a glimpse of the Verrazano Bridge.

Farther along, beyond the freeway, one can glimpse the East River leading into the Gowanus Canal, various factories, interesting shipping contraptions that resemble things from Star Wars (Spielberg was a notorious ripper-off of shipyards), and the occasional tanker or cruise ship, passing to and fro. On less-hazy days, that big arched bridge leading somewhere heinous like New Jersey can be viewed in the background.

All the way to the right, there is a most interesting ancient grain factory, and a billboard above it which sports incendiary and non-permissional slogans, on occasion.

This may not seem like anything special, but when a person is sitting on her fire escape, sipping a brew and contemplating her babies, it is rather Nifty. Particularly on evenings when the sun is setting all pink and gold over the water, and the Queen Mary wanders by, and the factories exude steam, and the occasional excited emergency vehicle flashes past on the freeway. It makes one feel as though Life is Happening.


k said...

Beautiful! Just, just beautiful.

This is special. Very much so. I remember having city views, but never one like this from my very own home.

I used to grow plants on my balcony at several different places I lived. One year I grew a lot of cucumbers for some reason, and I'd pick them and toss them down to passersby who stopped to admire my balcony garden, one story up from the sidewalk.

Your fire escape is just spectacular. And so exactly New York, all of it.

Desert Cat said...

Ooh, I can imagine. If you ate the whole basket. They do seem mildly intoxicating.

I would have kept on eating, except all but two still need a few days to ripen.

But I can still savor their fragrance on my fingers...

...and wonder seriously how hard it would be to grow a tree in the desert. I'm pretty sure a New York fire escape would be right out, sadly.

Chris Rywalt said...

I've never been a big fan of mangoes. Maybe the ones they have in the megamart here aren't any good. But then I'm more of an avocado guy anyway.

Spielberg wasn't involved in Star Wars, by the way. And that arched bridge leading somewhere heinous is most likely the Bayonne Bridge, which is a marvelous and beautiful piece of engineering connecting two basically dreadful places over one of the nastiest bodies of water on the planet. I love the Bayonne Bridge; it has the wonderful distinction of almost never being backed up due to traffic, unlike every other bridge in New York City.

k said...

I'm positive these mangoes have something intoxicating in them. The fragrance alone can drive a person batty. The flavor? That juice? The texture?


They all have a slightly different flavor too, but all of them are good. Many have a hint of coconut taste and smell.

It's nearly impossible to eat only one at a time. Pretty Lady, I admire your restraint! One reason I want to send them out to a select few special people is this: I have diabetes now, and it's just Not Good to live on a steady one or two-month diet of 6 mangoes a day, plus my morning espresso.

Ah, those days!

k said...

You know, DC, I bet you could grow these. We go through very long dry periods here. Like now, although of course this is record-breaking drought. At any rate, the mango tree is doing fine.


I'm going to be taking cuttings and growing them soon. You can also try getting a tree from seed, but the fruit doesn't always *come true.* Only a clone is a sure duplicate.

If I can root some branches, you're more than welcome to a few. They grow to fruiting size very fast, within only a couple of years sometimes.

Chris Rywalt said...

I've got good news for you, K: Fruit should have no effect on your diabetes. I'm diabetic myself, and my father is, too. Fructose -- the sugar in fruit -- is processed via an entirely different metabolic pathway than sucrose (table sugar). It doesn't raise blood sugar.

My father had a sudden hypoglycemic attack and drank orange juice to combat it. It didn't help. Later he asked his doctor about it and his doctor explained about fructose. He suggested dissolving a tablespoon of sugar in the orange juice next time, if that was all Dad could find.

Of course check with your doctor, but I'm fairly certain you can eat all the mangoes you want. The fruit itself wouldn't have that much fructose in it anyway, and the fiber is very good for you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need another glass of iced tea with plenty of sugar.

Desert Cat said...

Whew. I'm not sure what they put in your produce department and call "mangoes" Chris, but if you're comparing them to avocados and noting that there's not much fructose in them, well... I can gayrun-tee you, you've not had mangoes like this.

Chris Rywalt said...

No no no. I wasn't comparing them to avocados, just saying I like avocado-style fruit more than mango-style fruit. And mangoes don't have much fructose in them by weight -- most fruits don't. They're mostly water and fiber. It takes a lot of fruit to make juice. One mango probably doesn't even have half a cup of juice in it. So compared to, I don't know, a bottle of Coke, mangoes don't have much sugar.

Now I need another glass of iced tea.

Pretty Lady said...

Chris, if you've never lived outside of the NYC metropolitan area, I can practically guarantee that you don't know what a real mango tastes like. Even the 'organic, imported' ones at the co-op taste like tree bark compared to the ones I got by the bushel in Mexico, and now in the mail from k.

D.C., you really might be able to grow mangoes where you are. The place I lived in Mexico, Guanajuato, was near-desert, and the mangoes that grew there were spectacular.

I actually held the second one and inhaled it for about an hour last night, during a long phone conversation, before I got around to eating it.

And I do think that's the Bayonne Bridge that you can see from my fire escape. I'll try to get a better picture, if and when the haze clears off. We had about 3-4 days of Perfect Weather this week, and now the Hot, Humid Haze appears to be closing in----aaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Chris Rywalt said...

PL sez:
Chris, if you've never lived outside of the NYC metropolitan area....

You know very well I've never been anywhere.

Oh well. Bad mangoes, good bagels.

Desert Cat said...

Hrm. It looks like mangos are just a bit too tropical for my San Pedro retreat, and probably Tucson too, unless I found a very sheltered location and covered it religiously on the sub 25 degree nights.

That one 19 degree night this winter that killed off so many other plants would surely polish off a mature mango.

Desert Cat said...

And while I was looking around I found this:
A comfort food. Mangos really can make you feel better! Beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, mangos contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to papain found in papayas. These comforting enzymes act as a digestive aid and can be held partially responsible for that feeling of contentment we experience during and after our daily mango ritual. Yes, it is quite natural to crave those mangos!

Anonymous said...

IS it perhaps a girl thing, boy thing? Like Chris, I love avocados. Not the light smooth grren skinned ones whether they are huge or not but the dark , rough skinned ones, the "Haas" avoados. MMMMMMM . I can ripen a rock hard avocado to perfection in three days. Just place it in a room temperature, totally dark drawer. If you have surprise guests arriving, place the avocado in a paper bag with a banana and you are down to two days ripening.
The height of mu avocadozation (sounds like what one goes through to get a green card) was a walk-by vendor who sold me a perfect and large avocado for 5 cents on the shore of the extinct Volcano at Lake Atitlan on the other side, where you could only get to by tiny boats. Wow....WOW>>>>WOW>>>>
I can relive that half-hour feeling of 30 years ago instantly.
Now that is an avocado moment.
On the other hand, a female friend creates the magic with mangoes but I have trouble getting past the strings in my teeth.

Desert Cat said...

IS it perhaps a girl thing, boy thing?


BoysMom said...

Oooh, baby plants!
They look very healthy.
The mangos look yummy too. We can hardly ever even get bad ones here, but down in LA last summer had some that were very nice.

Pretty Lady said...

Gracious, boys, such fallacious dichotomies! There is nothing inherently conflictual about mangoes and avocadoes; diced and thrown together with lime, and perhaps a bit of salt and olive oil, they make a splendid salad.

Pretty Lady said...

Someone else likes my baby plants! I love you, Boysmom.

BoysMom said...

I love you too.
It is something, probably, about the sheer fun of an inherently non-competative artist to communicate with.
I do like baby plants. There are some morning glorries just sprouting this morning in my kitchen.
Actually, come to think of it, I like almost all baby things. I especially love the ones climbing all over me right now, but then, they're mine!

Anonymous said...

Mangoes? mmmMMMMMmmmm!

Occasionally we get some really good ones in from Queensland, and they are ambrosia of the gods. Mix some with orange juice? - even better..

Desert Cat said...

Hey, I've got nothing against avocados either. Fresh Guacamole is one step from heaven.

I'd never considered blending mangoes and avocadoes in a salad, but I do believe they'd work ok together.

k said...

That does sound seriously scrumptious. I used to eat all sorts of odd avocados as a child in California; we were blessed with a neighbor who grew an incredible variety of them.

Apparently, they weren't good for shipping. Which is why most of us never realize how various they are.

Those smooth skinned ones, danonymous? So disappointing. We grow those here as *Florida avocadoes* to distinguish them from tasty ones. Sometimes we eat them out of desperation, when Haas is not available. To get that merest whisper of a memory of what an avocado once tasted like.

Oh! And: **MY** mangoes Do Not leave fibers in one's teeth. No no no. Oh, these are smooth...

and!!! I've heard more than one mango eater down here describe these as *Haas mangoes.* HHMMMMM.

chris, thank you thank you thank you! I've always been a serious fruit fan. I hear conflicting reports on what does an doesn't raise one's blood sugar. I'm still pretty new at this diabetes stuff, having dodged it for years and years despite mega Prednisone doses and so forth. (Probably because I eat very little white sugar, and lots of fruit.)

I'm addicted to Vitamin C. It makes an extraordinary difference in my function level when the allergies hit killer level. The one time I had my huge daily glass of just-squeezed OJ and then tested, my glucose was high.

So I thought it must be the Terrible OJ Sugar Spike everyone was threatening me with, and got paranoid of my orange juice.

Now, I believe the thing to do is experiment.

Just as soon as I stock up on test strips. All out.


And in the meantime?

I'll simply remain confident that these mangoes really are as good for me as I've always believed. And indulge away.

Well. Maybe I'll keep it down to 4 per day instead of 6, though.

For now.

DC, I am so eager to see you plant a mango tree I can't stand it! And thank you for that bit on the Intoxication Effect. I have copied it and will keep it by me now. Whee!!!

k said...

I keep coming back to this post and admiring all the pretty pix.

Chris Rywalt said...

In honor of this thread I bought a mango at the local supermarket. I knew it wouldn't be up to the high standards set by everyone here, but I felt it was worth a try. I gave it a few days to ripen -- it seemed a little too firm when I bought it, not to mention being the size of a small infant -- and ate it yesterday.

I think I got a vague and distant hint of what you all see (or rather taste) in a mango that makes you all so crazy about them. But still, I remembered why I was unimpressed by them: They taste like a mixture of other fruits -- pineapple, apple, orange -- and are kind of a pain in the neck to eat.

Nevertheless, I ate the whole thing. It was pretty good. Maybe one day I'll get a "real" mango, if I ever leave New Jersey.