LASR Anniversary: Mary Patterson Thornburg

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

How to Get Over on a Mango

To me, one of the greatest tastes of summer belongs hands down to a mango – the tropical fruit, that is, not the bell pepper that some folks in the American Midwest inexplicably call “mango.” Mangoes can go in smoothies or be baked in sweet breads, they can top ice cream, or best of all they can be eaten raw. I’d describe their taste as something like a cross between a bright peach and a smooth cantaloupe, with a little extra magic that nothing else but a mango possesses.

But really, how do you get to that taste? No doubt the best way to eat a mango is naked, in the shower, first peeling the thing with a sharp knife and then eating it like an apple right down to the ridiculous seed, at which point you’ll be covered with sticky mango juice and can discard the seed and turn on the shower.

Second best is like this:

1) Buy a ripe but not too ripe mango, about the softness (or firmness) of a ripe but not too ripe avocado. Color doesn’t really matter too much… a little red, more green, works fine. But maybe it’s all green or all red, or even yellow if it’s a “champagne mango.” Color is kind of arbitrary – it’s the feel of not-too-firm firmness when you squeeze it that counts.

2) Get a bowl to catch some juice and the mango pieces. Have the bowl handy.

3) Over the sink, slice off the little stem thingy and then score the peel with a sharp knife in six or seven cuts from top to bottom. Grab one end of each resulting peel section and pull it down and off the fruit, helping it off with that knife if it resists being pulled. Throw away the peel.

4) Holding the naked fruit in one hand, score the fruit itself top to bottom in similar sections, cutting clear down to the seed, which is more or less oval and flat, kind of bulging on two sides and kind of sharp all around the edge. Do this over your bowl, so extra juice can drip into that.

5) Reposition the fruit and score it all around horizontally the same way four or five times, so you end up with the fruit still whole and more or less together but with checker-board type cuts, down to the seed, all over the surface.

6) With knife and fingers, starting just about anywhere, pull and cut the sections of fruit away from the seed and drop them in the bowl. At this point you’ll have a bowl full of pieces, more or less equal in size, and you’ll be holding that big flat seed, still juicy and dripping.

7) Chew and suck on that seed until you’ve got all the fruit you can off it and you’re going “mmmm” with pleasure.

8) Throw away the seed, rinse your hands, wash your face, and do whatever you wish with the pieces of fruit in the bowl – use them in a fruit salad, mix them up in the batter of mango bread, serve them as a sweet garnish with roast pork, toss them in the blender with yogurt and whatever for a smoothie, chop them up and put them in your mango chutney or mango salsa… or just get a spoon and eat them on the spot. Yum!

I’m convinced it wasn’t an apple that Eve fed to Adam to get them kicked out of Eden – it was a mango. And she knew exactly how to peel and cut and serve it. Maybe the serpent whissssspered the instructions to her…

glimmero_200Vivia has guile. Using only the power of her mind, she can make water boil, heal the sick, create illusions, and even transform herself into a bird or a pirate. But guilish folk are considered witches by most people, and that frightens them.

Her first teacher taught her healing arts, and after that she studied with Taso Raym, the most powerful male witch in the land. He taught her many things, and not just guilish skills. Unfortunately, neither Vivia nor Raym could ignore their attraction to each other, and intimacy between them would have meant the end of her guile. So she joined Ladygate, an all-female community, and accepted that love was not for her.

After a while, though, she realizes Ladygate is not where she belongs either. So she accepts the task of investigating the disappearance of a lord’s son, kidnapped, it seems, by the malevolent witch Orath. Her guilish training is not quite complete, and she hopes Raym can help her.

But Raym has also disappeared. Vivia is on her own, with a task to do—one that now touches her heart. She’s almost sure she has the necessary strength and skill…

…unless Raym and Orath are in league with each other?

About the Author:Mary Patterson Thornburg was born in California, grew up in Washington State, moved to Montana when she was 18, and spent many years in Indiana, where she studied and then taught at Ball State University. Her dream was always to write fantasy stories and novels, but she didn’t get started until she and her husband moved back to Montana in 1998. When she’d finished her first story and it was published, she took off running and never looked back. Two of her short stories earned honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, 2008), and “Niam’s Tale,” in the July/August 2010 Cicada, won the SCBWI 2011 Magazine Merit Honor Certificate. Her first fantasy/romance/adventure novel, A Glimmer of Guile, was published by Uncial Press in 2014. Her second book for Uncial, The Kura, came out in April, 2015.

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  1. James Robert says:

    Good Morning! Enjoy your Wednesday and thank you for this opportunity to win

  2. Who are some of your favorite authors; what strikes you about their work?

    • Thanks for asking, Peggy! My answer to this one ALWAYS starts with Ursula K. Le Guin, the queen of American fiction as far as I’m concerned. After that there’s a crowd, from Jane Austen to Charlotte and Emily Bronte to George Eliot to Mary Shelley to Charles Dickens to Bram Stoker to Margaret Irwin to Mary Stewart to Octavia E. Butler to Stephen King to Sue Grafton to Hank Phillippi Ryan to Patricia Dusenbury to Jenny Twist to….. whew!! STOP! STOP! Because they ALL write about real, real people. We care about the stories because we care about the people.

  3. A confession: I have never eaten a mango. however after reading this, I’ve put mango on my shopping list.

    • Patricia, my first mango was a real challenge. 🙂 Must confess that more than once I’ve gotten one too green and then let it stand around until it was too ripe. Like an avocado, a mango has a very precise window of opportunity! (And see my reply to Jude Glad, below.)

  4. kim hansen says:

    Book sounds like a good read.

  5. At last! Instructions for peeling mangoes. Now I can stop mutilating them. I really enjoy your books, Mary.

    • Oh, Jude, it’s always pretty much a mess! A friend of mine in Florida just told me he puts them in boiling water, then quickly in cold, and peels them like tomatoes. I’ll try that next time. Then, he says, he boils them down into mango concentrate. He doesn’t say what he does with the concentrate, but I’m guessing you could freeze it in ice cube trays and do good things with it. Mango Popsicles, maybe?

  6. Mangoes…um, good, but fresh from the tree with skin sap dripping make some of us rip off our clothes not to enjoy the succulent fruit, but to scratch, scratch, scratch because our skin’s crawling with sap-triggered hives, a reaction not helped even if you discover the allergy while living in Hawaii. Fun post. Best of luck with A Glimmer of Guile.

  7. What are the hardest scenes to write?

    • Hmmm… For me, the hardest scenes are the ones that need to convey necessary information, transitions, etc. These can be dull, dull, dull, unless they can ALSO include, somehow, a bit of conflict or at least tension — for instance, instead of Character A telling a bit of news to Character B calmly and willingly, you might have Character B sort of wringing the news out of Character A, who for one reason or another doesn’t want to tell it.

  8. Rita Wray says:

    Sounds like a good read.

  9. I love mangoes too, but I admit I brutalize them! Thanks for the great instructions.

    • Jana, I never said I don’t brutalize them! I think you just have to accept the brutality and salvage every lovely drop possible. 🙂 I’ve just learned of another way to peel them (see my reply to Jude Glad, above), which I’ll admit I haven’t tried yet, but it sounds reasonable.

  10. Love mangos, but I agree they are very messy to eat.

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