Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick
Mango by Paul Mitchell
The mangoes glistened like gold bullion in the African sun on this desolate stretch of no man's land in Ethiopia. Weary, parched, hungry, in the waning afternoon we had not seen any place to eat since we left in early morning. The driver stopped when we spotted the mangoes, all of us thinking the same thing - African take-away.
He stood on the hood of the land cruiser mining the tree for us. Piled on the hood of the vehicle they sat like some newly discovered golden hoard. We used our utility knives we to slice them in half. Discarding the seed we notched crisscrossing hatch marks on the yellow flesh, inverting them until they resembled a tribe of hedge hogs. This is the only way to eat mango in the bush without the niceties of table, plate, napkins, knives and forks or Ms Manners.
Hungrily we started devouring them. Bending over we resembled ostriches sticking our heads and necks far out and bending down so the juice would not get our clothes. But it was a lost cause. Juice sprayed everywhere as we stripped the golden flesh from the skin dropping the finished ones to join a growing pool of liquid turned reddish gold by the earth.
Giving up we took off our shirts. The juice ran like twin rivers flowing out the sides of our mouths trailing down our naked tanned chests. If only it were more hidden we could have stripped naked and bathed in the sweetness of the juice.
We ate until we could lift no more. We sat filled and unmoving. Our senses still alive with the sweet tang of mango, bodies glistened with dried juice mingled with earth and sun transforming us into a new golden fruit.
Paul Mitchell is from Vancouver, BC