Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

succumbing to temptation

this summer threw up a never-before challenge.
consuming mangoes or actually not consuming them.

10 years in bombay has seen me gorge down mango produce of multiple acres.
'voracious eater' will barely start to describe my appetite for mangoes.

a tough habit to break, you would think.
"why break?", you will concurrently ask.
both explanations will follow just from a simple description of our neighbouring farm.

100 acres of mango orchard borders our farm. growing a wide variety including the KING - alphonso.
some trees tantalisingly dangle these golden fruits within grabbing distance.
i would extend the saying, "don't enter the kitchen of a restaurant" to "dont have a mango orchard as your neighbour.
few readers will have already raised their eyebrows, " this fellow is going to advice to quit another fruit!"
kindly de-escalate them. this is a confession (refer title).

we have spent most of april hearing spraying machines operating through the day/night in this orchard.
the amount of spraying/fertiliser done has been higher this year as mango crops in TN have been suffering due to some unseasonal climatic conditions.
'no to the chemical-infested mango' was the recurrent slogan of this summer.
so we bravely survived an almost zero mango season this year.

until some silly mango stealing escapade by another neighbour, brought the neighbours (mango orchard and us) into direct contact to handle this episode.
and emissaries from the orchard promptly got a huge basket of alphonsoes.
the simple sight sent my adams apple on unprecedented vertical oscillations.
the 'no-mango' resolve was destroyed in no time by the juicy, succulent, absolutely tasty aapus.

now that the resolve was dead and buried, i went the whole hog.
why not buy directly from the farm?
you know, we save food miles, lower cost from direct buying from farmer, etc, etc..
early morning, i trudged into the farm and got myself a super bargain. around 60 fruits for Rs 200.

not a simple retail transaction, mind you.
it so happens that they sell directly and only to juicers (like maaza, slice).
and only mangoes which meet a certain standard is chosen.
the remaining are buried, yes - you read right, BURIED right next to trees.
i had seen thousands of mangoes heaped around trees and now i understood the reason.

bloody murder, few readers may think. yes, indeed...
the ostensible reason is - it is simply too expensive and complicated to manage/handle the distribution of these off-spec mangoes. given that these orchards are managed by employees, they could engage in pilferage and etc...

bloody murder, i still say...while licking the trickling juice from my fingers. yum.


Vanessa said...

mmm Haapus. We are making do with Mexican Mangoes for 3 years now :)
A cruel joke for someone who spent Summer vacations in Ratnagiri amidst rows of neatly arranged haapus all around the house. :(

Anonymous said...

On those buried mangoes, there is a north Kerala recipe for making payasam out of mango seeds. It is supposed to taste heavenly, and greatly boost your immune system. Never tried it myself, but here goes the recipe I got from someone:

Take around 20 mango seeds, break open the outer coating, take the white seeds and break these into small pieces

Put these pieces in a cloth and immerse in water for three days. Change the water every day.

On fourth day, take the pieces and make a powder, it will be he consistency of "puttu podi".

Make standard payasam with jaggery and ghee.

If you ever get round to making it, post the results!

csm said...

v - if you have some space and plan to stay for a few years, you should plant a aapus. but let me tell you, there a few varieties which can give appus a run for their money.
there is danger of appus madness killing the other brilliant varieites like imampasanad, jahangi, doodh peda, etc.

anon - nice recipe. we were planning to make oil from the mango kernels/seeds.

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

i am not a big fan so i have spent enough number of summers without consuming a single mango... but the child likes them so i have eaten a few this time. she eats the flesh from the sides, i eat the stuff close to the seed, and the skin. it seems like a healthy distribution. :-)

& BTW, i told my mum about your list of three things never to eat, and she said 'I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH CSM. CABBAGE CAULIFLOWER AND GRAPES!!! HOW CAN YOU EAT THEM????' so :-( :-(

csm said...

kenny - you have no more places to hide :-)
move to organic food. it is quite close to you.
make it a weekly habit and then you can stop reading my advice on foodstuffs :-)