Monday, August 31, 2009

How do YOU eat a Mango?

James showed up for dinner tonight with a bowl full of mangos. It’s the very end of mango season here, so we were pretty excited to enjoy one before they’re done for the winter. As I picked a mango out of the bowl, and headed to the shelf to grab a knife, I was met with a look of absolute disgust from Jimmy. He pointed to the knife and the mango and said, “no, no no. Put that back.” I asked him how I’m supposed to eat it without one and he smiled and responded, “with your teeth!” So I did. Um, it was messy, but delicious. There was mango juice all over my face and hands, and those stringy mango fibers all stuck in my teeth. Meanwhile across the table from me, Elissa refused to abandon her orderly American mango eating style. She neatly cut the flesh away from the peel and enjoyed bite sized chunks of mango, while keeping her face and hands relatively clean. Bellegarde shot her good natured glances of disdain as he gnawed on his own mango.

Bellegarde and I decided the mango eating situation is a pretty good metaphor for the difference between the Haitian and US American way of doing things. The American way is clean, efficient, and orderly, and yields satisfying results. The Haitian way is carefree and way more fun, but leaves a mess all over the place. Which way is better? Good question. Think about that one ….


Meg said...

I like your mango-philosophizing. Plato has nothing on you!

Bobb-o said...

It also reminds me of the difference between adults and kids. When was the last time you ate yogurt with your fingers?

The interesting part is all of us adults want to be kids again. It seems like everyone is smarter than the American adult.