19 May 2010

Mango Mix

Today on Twitter my blogger friend Leslie Limon wrote: "My kitchen smells SO good! Onion, garlic and dried ancho chilies...SIGH!" Immediately I thought, "Yes that does sound good but there is something missing...mangoes. However, I am not talking about the yellow mango fruit that grows on trees. I am talking about green bell peppers. In parts of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, and Missouri, green bell peppers were known as "mangoes". When the mango fruit was first discovered by Portuguese explorers in East India the only way that it could be exported or transported without refrigeration was by pickling in vinegar and brine. It became a favorite treat and later on people made imitation pickled mangos by stuffing green bell peppers or certain types of hollowed out melons with things like cabbage, onions, cucumbers, brown sugar, and spices spices and then pickling them. It must have been a popular dish because green bell peppers, which are technically a fruit and not a vegetable, became commonly known as mangoes in the above mentioned places. You can see the name "mangoes" on old railroad manifests in reference to bell peppers and some old timers still refer to bell peppers as mangoes.

That brings me to my main topic, "mango mix". I learned about mango mix from a friend who talked me into running a hamburger concession stand with him one time. When we were ready to fire up the grill I asked him what he wanted me to do and he told me to start making "mango mix". Apparently mango mix is an old standby among carnival and county fair concessionaires. If you chop up equal parts of onions and green bell peppers and throw them on a grill with a dab of lard it makes a smell that quickly travels far and wide and makes people very hungry. It really works too. Ever since then whenever I have given a backyard party or am in charge of cooking for a picnic I rely heavily on mango mix. You need to make a bunch of it and I always have a little pile bubbling away on the corner of the grill or in a little frying pan. It makes people crazy. It doesn't mater what you cook after that. After people have had a few beers in them and smell the mango mix they will eat just about anything with gusto. Not only that but they will rant and rave about your cooking and you will meet neighbors that you have never met before. They will come around because they just can't help themselves. Mango Mix...don't leave home without it!

One more thing. Leslie Limon has inaugurated a new blog called "Motherhood in Mexico". Check it out. It's a little bit of everything. She is a great teacher.


GlorV1 said...

That recipe sounds really good Bob. I love cooking that way. It does really make the house smell heavenly and I always open my windows to let the neighbors whiff it up. Tee Hee. Thanks for sharing that. I guess I'll stop by Leslie's blog to see what is going on. Thanks for sharing. Oh and I loved that bit of advice your father gave you and I will remember it. Thanks

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Excellent! I'll remember that trick.

Kind of like the aroma of baking bread.

I'm hungry just thinking about it!

1st Mate said...

Again, you have enlightened me. Almost every dinner I cook starts out with mango mix, though I didn't know it was called that. Guess that explains why we always have a good appetite by the time dinner's served.

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

Yummy. Anything Mangoes makes me happy- especially that perfect time of year

Don Cuevas said...

Funny, I've almost stopped using green bell peppers, as the ripe red, and to a lesser degree, the orange and yellow ones are so good, and reasonably priced. But I still like the green ones

Yesterday, we started our comida with a cool, roasted sweet red pepper and tomato soup.

Don Cuevas

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

I'm pretty sure that I'm going to think of you every time I cook. I made tacos for lunch and had my "mango mix" of onions and chiles serranos cooking before anything else! :)

Thank you so much for the mention! :)

Angie said...

Thing is, houses are so small and close together, the WHOLE neighborhood knows you're making carne asada! Something like a collective torture...hahaha.

Been reading your blog for a few weeks. I love all the information you put in!
I also live in Irapuato ....

bob cox said...

The sense of smell can trigger lifes fondest memories...
There are some smells that are immediately recognizable and heartwarming.
... bacon frying...
...freshly popped popcorn...
freshly brewed coffee... and
onions & bell peppers beig grilled.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.