An Ode to Mangos
Down at the corner market in our small coastal island of Puerto Rico the overwhelming smell of fresh fruit, and savory spices envelop your senses.
Out of the corner of my eyes I see colors of vibrant red, yellow, and bright green; a stack of fresh mangos. The sign above reads one-dollar per pound. The very thought of its enticing juice was enough to send me running to my mom and tugging on her skirt.
“¿Mamá podemos comprar algunos mangos dulces?” (Mom can we buy some sweet mangos?)Looking down on me with a soft smile she said,
“Si mi amor toma todos los que quieras.”
Of course I wanted to get as many as I could. So, I ran as fast as I could and grabbed as many mangos as my little arms could carry.
On the way home all I could think of was slicing one and opening it to taste its sweet juice.
Once we finally arrived home I watched my mom as she slipped the dull knife through its rubbery covering. Juice escaped through the laceration like a volcano spewing fire. When she had finally finished she leaned down and handed me a half slice that shined golden like the sun. I immediately grabbed it and peeled back its leathery skin and bit into its vibrant orange, ripe flesh. The sugary fruit melted past my tongue and the escaping liquid made sticky trails down my face and arms.
Suddenly, I realized that I was missing something. I raced back into the kitchen and there it was sitting on the countertop. I had found the missing piece to my puzzle; Tajín. A spice that once added to my mango formed a surreal combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy. It’s like summer on your tongue. When I got to its oval pit my teeth gnawed and grinded against its thin hair like fibers, which would get stuck in the crevices of my teeth as I tried to finish every last piece.
Immediately after finishing I wanted another. Knowing my mother wouldn’t agree I quietly snuck back into the kitchen and as stealthily as I could I...