Jul 6th, 2005
My grandmother passed away last month. She was 86 and quite busy and active up until almost the end. It was difficult for my family, especially my dad and his brother and sisters who lost both their mom and dad in the space of two years, but it also brought the family closer together. My parents hosted a family dinner after the memorial service, and after a tearful afternoon 30 or so hungry Cooperriders descended upon their sunny patio. My mom took care of the meal - roast turkey and salmon - and asked me to bring a few things to fill in around the edges. Due to the challenges of cooking for 30 in a tiny oven, she decided to roast the turkey the day before, so thinking it might be a little dry the next day I decided to bring some sort of savory condiment to serve with it. I wanted to use some sort of in-season fruit, but couldn't quite visualize how to use strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries in this way. Blackberries would have gone well with the salmon, but their season comes a bit later in the year. So I decided on mangos, truly one of my favorite summer treats. I was tempted by the idea of a chipotle-mango salsa, but thought the heat might not be for everyone. A chutney would be perfect - slightly exotic, but sweet and tangy and approachable for most palates.
The following recipe is quite easy, just assemble the ingredients the night before, store in the fridge and cook the next morning. It makes 3 cups of chutney and I looked forward to bringing home the leftovers, but every scrap was eaten up, the serving bowl practically licked clean.
Food plays an important part in the way we deal with death. For me it was a chance to feel like I participated in some way, however small, in celebrating a life well-lived.
Mom's Mango Chutney