Book Review

The Great Mango Book

by Allen Susser, Photography by Greg Schneider

Ten Speed Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707. 2001. 141 pp. $14.95. ISBN 1-58008-204-1.
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Reviewed by Benjamin Kuo (1/2002)

Fruit fanciers are notorious for their devotion to their favorite fruits--and among the most devoted are fans of the mango. The Great Mango Book, published earlier this summer, plays to this devotion, with a vivid, luscious homage to the mango. Singularly focused on the selection and consumption of this tropical fruit, will succeed at getting you salivating for mangos, fresh and cooked. Written by Chef Allen Susser, a well-known South Florida chef with his own restaurant, this combination fruit display and cookbook reflects Susserís obsession with this juicy, delicious fruit.

Detailing more than 50 varieties of mangos, with a brief description of each, full color, high-quality photographs and including "Tasting Notes," the first half of the book clearly shows Allen Susserís preference for the mango. From the more-common varieties like Tommy Atkins and Keitt, to those that are more obscure and difficult to find, like Rosa, ("flamboyant notes of cinnamon, allspice, and clove"), Prieto ("a deep floral aroma, with a pleasurable balance of pineapple, peach, and candied-orange peel"), and including Indian dessert varieties like Dasheri and Neelum, Susser travels the world of mangos, describing the fruit and its history. He also draws from the knowledge of Dr. Richard Campbell, curator of tropical fruits for the Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and touches on botany and cultivation of mangos, including notes on the origins of varieties and typical cultivation practices. The beautiful photography makes this a feast for the eyes, with every size, shape and color of mangos clearly shown, whole, cut, from the top, bottom, and every other angle.

The second half of the Great Mango Book is a feast of recipes from Susserís restaurant and personal favorites, including a full-course meal--from beverages and starters, to main dishes, condiments, and dessert. South Floridaís fusion-cooking influence shows in Susserís many different kinds of cuisine--from Indian-inspired dishes like Shrimp and Mango Curry to Cuban Mango Daquiris, Hawaiian Tuna and Mango Sashimi Salad to Vietnamese inspired Hot and Sour Mango Relish. Susser truly travels the world of flavors, all focused on the mango. Again, vividly colored photographs tempt the senses and bring the recipes to life.

The Great Mango Book is truly a book for the mango-obsessed, and the fine photography makes it a worthwhile edition for the rare-fruit enthusiast.


© Copyright 2002, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
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