I grew up in a small coal-mining town in southeast Ohio. My Dad always put in a big garden and my Mom canned fruits and vegetables... she even canned beef from a cow that Daddy had butchered. My Dad also butchered a hog and cured the meat on the back porch.
We ate all the usual things... cabbage, corn, peas, green beans, and in the summer we had lettuce, onions, radishes, carrots and.... mangoes.
Mangoes, you ask? In Southeastern Ohio? Come'on... that's a tropical fruit!
Well, in my part of the world, these were called "Mango"s
Most of these green peppers have already started to turn from green to orange and red, but there is no doubt that they are green peppers.
Now just across the aisle are the fruits available here...
Not quite the blushing reddish color you might expect, but... these are Mangoes.
I was probably a teenager before I ever saw a "real" mango.... and to her dying day, my Mom called a green pepper a mango.
I got to wondering how in the world that crisp salad vegetable got called a mango, and, of course, had to Google it. Wikapedia had an answer that seemed reasonable to me:
The “mango,” the real one, is a tropical fruit indigenous to Southeast Asia and India, now grown all around the world, and known for its sweetness and unique flavor. The name “mango” comes from the Tamil word “mankay,” and “mango” first appeared in English in the late 16th century.
The first mangoes imported into the American colonies were from the East Indies, and, since this was long before either high-speed transport or refrigeration, they arrived not as fresh fruit, but in pickled form. This fact turns out to be the key to the mango-pepper mystery. At some point, early on, there was a popular misunderstanding of the word “mango” in America, and people began to use “mango” as a general synonym for “pickled dish,” no matter what the dish was made from. Thus, in 1699, we find references in a cookbook to “a mango of cucumbers” and “mango of walnuts.” Pretty soon almost anything that could be pickled was called a “mango.” Apples, peaches, apricots, plums, even bunches of grapes, once pickled, became “mangoes,” usually in the form “mango of peach,” etc. “Mango” even became a verb in the early 18th century meaning “to pickle.”
I read further and found that it's common in the mid-west states for folks to call green peppers "mangoes".... especially in Ohio and Pennsylvania. It went on to say:
The older generation in this area also referred to the green pepper as a mango, but as people became more educated and knowledgeable and of course more familiar with real mangoes this has diminished and really only heard by the older generation and even many of them have stopped once they became aware... and I'm sure in some cases not to give away their age.
I can't remember how long ago I started calling green peppers by their correct name, but as many years ago as that's been....
I think of my Mom and her mangoes... and I'll admit a big smile comes to my face just looking at them and remembering.
That's All For Today!