Making Mango Cities
Interestingly, it was my VERY Swedish aunt that taught me how to cut a mango. Her home was Swedish, her food, clothes, her attitude, all very traditional. Except for her love of mangoes. I remember as a child always seeing mangoes at different stages of ripeness on her kitchen counter. Snack time or dessert usually involved one or two of the riper mangoes and we kids learned to love them as much as she did. When I was old enough to help in the kitchen, which meant being able to not fall off the stool, she showed me how to cut a mango. Otherwise known as making what she called “mango cities.”
Most people know how to do this, but as a child this was pure magic. Our afternoon snacks at her house often was a half a mango that she would create into a “city” and we would then make up stories to go along with it. I don’t make up the stories anymore, but I still smile when I cut up a mango.
To create a mango city:
First, slice your mango in half, going around the pit in the middle. Once you have two halves, take one and laying it skin side down, make cross-hatch pattern slices in the flesh being careful not to go all the way through the skin. I usually make four-five going across one way and four-five going across the other way.
Once the cuts are made, place your thumbs on either end and your fingers underneath the mango in the center and gently press the skin side up to flip the mango inside out. By doing this you will have the sliced pieces of mango pop up to create the buildings of your mango “city.”
If you are eating as a snack, this makes it easy to bite off each square. Or you can use a knife to slice off the city buildings right into your fruit salad. Kids will love this!