I love mango chow. As a kid, living in the "country" I used to spend my every waking moment up some fruit tree or other. In mango season we literally lived on mango chow, we always used to have a bowl going. Not hard, we had eight julie mango trees in the yard to go with two plum trees and some oranges. Some time during the day someone would find an enamel bowl, break up cloves of garlic and raid the herb patch for chives, shadon beni, thyme, pepper and whatever else we felt like throwing in. It would all be ground up by hand using my great-grandma's river stone "mortar and pestle". We'd peel and thinly slice the mangoes, toss it all up in the bowl which was then left in the sun to "cure" for a couple of hours and then go to work on it.
Granny was filled with despair because we ate so many half ripened mangoes that we ate very little else. I will not tell you what it did to our digestive systems, suffice to say it was not pretty. But we all did it. My uncles (bane of my existence), my cousins, my brothers and me, we were chow makers and chow eaters. It was fabulous, the juice dripping down your hand as you sucked up the little slices, every mouthful imbued with taste, each bite exquisite torture. Ears not burning? More pepper needed! You had to be careful not to rub your face at all lest the skin be scorched off.
Admittedly mangoes were not the only things we turned into chow, we used plums, cucumber, orange, pomeracs, pommecythere's, whatever fruit that would be enhanced by the addition of pepper and seasoning was dutifully "chowed". Interestingly enough, when I was growing up, way, way back in the dark ages of the 70's and 80's, if you ate things like doubles, chow, sada roti and the like you must have been from the country. All the "bouge" kids looked down their nose at you. Funny, they're the ones I usually see lining up at the downtown doubles man. We who know what real doubles taste like laugh.
Occasionally while traipsing around POS I wash up at Lal's preserves and avail myself of the chow there. Largely because I can't be bothered to go in search of fruit myself. Lal's is okay, a pale representation of my youth. I still think my uncle's make the best chow and smile to myself as I look at all the city folks in their suits lining up, I just have to go home and put in my request. Hmm, that sounds like a plan, I might even be able to talk my uncle into a curry duck as well.....