sure, everything is good when it’s shared. especially meals. food. wine. some would argue that it’s most depressing, cooking for one and eating it alone.
i don’t know about that.
i like coming home to a clean kitchen waiting for things to be made hot and messy and for new scents to arise from the nothing. if it reads like i’m trying to make it sound sexy you’re right, i am, because – it is.
sure, everything happens in the kitchen of a house. especially conversation. food. wine. updates. but left unhelped, undistracted, i can turn on music that fills the room, sing aloud, sway about, chop through vegetables, heat butter, stir sauces, all the ever meanwhile, sipping on the vino du noir. the fine wine selection of the nite.
cooking is magic – it’s alchemy, and baking is wizardry too. you can really fuck it up at any critical juncture. souffles fall into mush, cakes plummet and become bricks, butter and flour-sifted pans scorch, eggs turn green and brown, pasta goes the other direction from al dente to dental work. it’s all very much finesse. there’s an awful lot of appreciation and pre-fabrication that goes into a really good meal. and i’ve thought and written much and ranted about it here.
and it’s easier to pay attention when you’re left alone with the matter at hand.
last nite, i had eggplant parmigiana, a salad of cucumbers, grape tomatoes, chopped cauliflower and broccoli with a Tuscan dressing, fresh olive bread and a Cabernet that’ll curl your toes. it was a meal to savor. hell, i even considered seducing myself into bed.
but before all of this, 3 ripe mangos sat, smothered in a plastic bag and i could smell them as familiar and wanton as the skin at the nape of a lover’s neck. i had to make one an appetizer.
sure, there are many ways to cut, to peel, to dice, to eat, to devour a mango. but i found the best way yet. quietly, softly and alone. everyone’s so worried about getting messy yet just as much concerned about the proper way to get the most fruit out of such a luscious creature. so i take my mango to a place where i can truly enjoy it with abandon.
here’s what i found is easiest . . .
+ take the mango into one hand. observe how it’s like a self-contained traffic light. red, amber, green. now GO! bring the skin up to your nose and inhale deeply, appreciating what’s just beneath.
+ get a good paring knife out of the drawer and slice it not around its waist, but head to tail, lengthwise, running the blade deep along its walled pit until the incision meets the stem at both sides.
+ cup the mango in your hands and gently twist the half-moons of its newly separated self back and forth without pressing or bruising the flesh just enough to yield a little juice.
+ starting with one half, you’ll find the skin wants to peel back now. do so in long slender pieces or if you are lucky, the whole side will come off leaving only light strings and a very thin layer of fruit on the back of the skin. throw these away and move towards the sink. or if you must, put a towel down on the counter for now the true and rewarding work begins.
+ hold the wet fruit in your hands as if it were a little ball, a glass ornament, an empty hand, a naked lover and bring it to your mouth and eat it as if you were just learning to kiss for the first time. bite, pull, suck, come up for air here and again and don’t worry about the juice running down your forearms as you can lick or rinse that off later. continue this, allowing yourself mutterings and mumbling mmmmmms of pleasure and succulence until you are down to the bony pit at the center.
+ wash your hands, pat them dry, drink a warm glass of water. smile.
then go eat dinner. and read some fun facts and myths about the king of fruits.
well, how do YOU eat a mango?