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Romance of the Mango: The Complete Book of the King of Fruits

Kusum Budhwar (Author)
Synopsis Aam, manga, kokilananda or adishelarayam—Indians may have different names for the mango, but they all agree that it is the ‘king of fruits’. Some compose songs and poems in its praise, while others use it to decorate their sculptures and paintings; some pray to the fruit for the boon of children, while others get married to the tree itself; some dedicate their lives to nurturing the tree, while others are just content to eat it by the dozens. In Romance of the Mango, Kusum Budhwar writes about—and for—each of these lovers of the mango. Tracing the journey of a humble wild species of the forest to its spread over the subcontinent, she pieces together India’s fascination with the mango and explores why the mango is more than a mere fruit to us. In the first section of the book, History and lore, the author talks about the appearance of the mango on our landscape and how it permeated our literature, mythology, arts and crafts. Thus we learn how Lord Indra became a mango tree and how the mango motif came to be known as the paisley. Tribal and aboriginal cultures in India are replete with associations with the mango and the author brings to us their myths, songs and rites centred on the fruit. The section ends with a basketful of stories—from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, the Jatakas, and folklore from around India and from faraway places like Jamaica and Brazil. The second section of the book, Botany of the plant, deals with the practical aspect of growing a mango tree—in an orchard or in a pot—caring for it and marketing it. It lists the diseases and pests to look out for and ways to combat them. It gives the names—some of the most fancy and romantic ones were coined by nobles to gain the favour of Emperor Akbar, a great lover of the mango—and details of popular varieties in India and around the world, along with colour pictures that will help you recognize them. The third section, Using the mango, explains how traditional medicine finds every part of this tree beneficial. Thus the mango is used to treat prickly heat, diabetes, earaches and other illnesses. Parts of the mango are also used in cosmetics and as cattle and poultry feed. The bulk of this section is devoted to the mango’s most popular use: as food. Recipes—for beverages, salads, desserts, cakes, pickles and jams—from different cuisines of the world include mango ginger refresher, chicken in pita pockets with mango mayonnaise, aam ka pulao, mango kulfi, mango pie in almond crust, Andhra mango pickle and mango murrabba. Thoroughly researched and lavishly illustrated, and full of engaging stories and information, Romance of the mango is a fitting tribute to the most celebrated fruit of the subcontinent.
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Bibliographic information

Title Romance of the Mango: The Complete Book of the King of Fruits
Author Kusum Budhwar
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0143028642
length xiii+290p., Plates; Illustrations; Maps; 23cm.