“Once Upon A Mango 2” – Juicy Poetry & Recipes from Sunny Jamaica

Mango Lady

Her pushcart was parked on the sidewalk,

and she read a book while patiently waiting for customers.

She had a large orange parasol

to protect her precious mangoes from the mid-day heat.

Call it a mobile fruit stand with wares just hours picked from the tree.

A fleeting glance at all those mangoes made me pause;

but it was her smile that made me stop:

There were oranges for sale in a red cooler,

complete with a little machine to peel them as you waited –

A few hands of ripe bananas:

yes I saw those too, all different shades of yellow –

But set just so a hundred mangoes to catch the light.

I asked their names and she laughed as she pointed:

Julie, Bombay, Blackie, Stringy, Long Mango.

One hundred for Julie, fifty for Bombay, everything else hundred per dozen.

We spoke for a while and I made my selection;

she looked at my face and in my eyes:

A few extra mangos, for you to enjoy,

and flashed another beautiful smile.

I look at these pictures, a moment in time:

The mango lady and her cart of sunshine

This wonderful recipe by Barbara Walter was taken from The Hotel Mockingbird Hill blog. The eco-boutique hotel  overlooks the picturesque town of Port Antonio on the northeastern side of the island. I find Barbara’s blog a constant source of inspiration.

Mango Gazpacho with Pickled Shrimps

2 ½ cups water

½ cup vinegar

1 ½ tbs pickling spice ( we use our own homemade jerk spice)

1 tbs minced lemongrass

1 ½ tbs salt

Boil ingredients together. Remove from heat.

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped green salad onions

1 ½ tsp minced jalapeño chili (bird peppers)

12 uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined

Stir into the chilled water the parsley, onions and pepper and shrimp, chill and then cover overnight in glass container.

2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted

1 small green apple, peeled, chopped

1 small celery stalk, chopped

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber

1 tbs fresh lime juice

2 tsp chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 large jalapeño chili, seeded, minced

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Puree all these ingredients together. Chill for at least 2 hours. Ladle soup into 4 bowls and top with 3 shrimp each and garnish with parsley. The recipe below, also by Barbara Walker from her Hotel Mockingbird Hill blog, is equally delicious and just as easy to prepare.

Mango Gazpacho 

2 mangoes peeled and pitted (just under 1 kg total)

2 cucumbers, de-seeded

3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Finely chop 1 mango and 1 cucumber and set aside. Coarsely chop remaining mango and cucumber and puree with ¼ cup of water in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in finely chopped mango, cucumber, onion and lime juice and 2 cups of cold water. Chill in the refrigerator for about two hours. Stir in cilantro just before serving, along with 1 teaspoon of salt.

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