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December 16, 2001
Chef's mango cookbook celebrates the differences
The Herald  by Georgia Tasken
Chef’s mango cookbook celebrates the differences There are a number of things to like about Allen Susser's The great Mango Book (Ten Speed, $14.95).

The Interesting way mangoes have been sliced, scored and photographed Beautifully displays the flesh as well as the color of these most tropical of tropical fruits. The capsule of history of each variety featured is just the right length.

Susser's tasting notes are evocative - whether we can find "hints of anise and cinnamon with generous flavors of caramel, fig and candied orange peel" or even if we just find variations on the theme of mango, mango, mango.

Not so many years ago, it was the most prosaic of mangoes that initiated our taste buds to the king of fruits, and we came away wondering, "Is that all there is?"

Today, however, the range of flavors is symphonic, and our taste buds are sophisticated by comparison. Susser has selected elegant varieties to include in this new book, boosting them into ethereal spheres with descriptions usually reserved for pricey wines.

Many of these are not household names even here, but just as many are, Edward, Zill and Nam Doc Mai are well known to mango aficionados, while Rad, Naomi and Neelam are new kids on the local block.

There is scant informational on cultivation, but susser is a chef and not a horticulturist. Recipes are the things wherein to catch the essence of the fruit, and there are wonderful sounding dishes here such as Crab and Mango Salad and Lamb Chops with Dried Mango and Ginger - even if vegetarians have to eat salad and go straight to dessert. But why not? Life and mango seasons are short.


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