Carta de Nicaragua 14: Guinep, Mamón and me

Team Marple-Poirot

Team Marple-Poirot
Although the duo claimed to have retired from duties following the incident with the FedEx messenger in Managua, they secretly continued a very important mission: the search for a missing fruit. Their brief was vague: a round, green fruit, squidgy on the inside and colour of the flesh unknown, a stone in the centre, tastes really nice!

The perils of eye-witness testimony
When I was a little girl, seven maybe eight years – maybe older, someone came back from Jamaica – or perhaps it was only Brixton Market – with a bag of tropical food. There was one item in particular that was so delicious it was the stuff that dreams are made of. Its name was Guinep.

Mission: missing fruit; location: unknown

All I remembered about Guinep was that it was roundish with a green skin that opened to reveal  a  juicy, fleshy substance with a stone in the middle.  For years I dreamed of Guinep. I’d ask Mrs S if the local Caribbean market stalls were selling it. “No.” She’d reply.

Beware imposters in hairy clothing
I bought some lychees once, thinking that this was the fruit but they weren’t a patch on the mysterious Guinep. Too squidgy. Too sweet. Not quite right. I began to appreciate Goldilocks’ dilemma during Porridgegate.

A potential Guinep but far from the real deal

Seek – but will you find?
Years ago I wanted to buy Public Enemy’s single, Don’t Believe the Hype, on vinyl. I was told “No chance, it’s been deleted.” Something told me I’d find it. I searched for a few days and found a copy on vinyl in a record shop in Leeds. I dreamed on about finding Guinep.

Nancites: taste – nice, size – about right, consistency – too much like puree

Deep down I felt sure that we’d be reunited. Nicaragua 2011 and 2012: every time I saw a new fruit I wondered if it would be my Guinep. I met Tamarindo, Guineo, Jocote and Nancite but not Guinep. Mere impressionists.

Beware the trader bearing strange fruits?
And time goes by. Summer draws to a close and winter, the rainy season, returns. On a bus passing through Chontales, heading towards Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, a trader appeared selling small green spheres on twigs. “What are they?” I asked. “Mamones,” came the reply, “you won’t like them.” But my mouth watered with recognition. “Remember me?” The fruit teased. I handed over my 5 pesos and hello, Guinep! Reunited. And it feels so good.

Separated at birth: Mamón and Guinep

The Scooby Doo Reveal
Mamones and Guineps are one and the same! Furthermore, the  hairy-looking ‘imposters’ are known  in Nicaragua as Chinese Mamones. Lychees. Chinese Gunieps. And if it wasn’t for my pesky taste-buds…

To be continued …


About lyndacuba

"Who am I? Why am I here? You're asking, I'm asking. Tired of all the moaning around me, tired of waiting for something to happen, I decided that I couldn't just let life pass me by. It occurred to me that if I could help a single person, that act could change the outcome of an entire community for the better. I want to matter. I want to make a difference. I've chosen Nicaragua." That was 2011 - this is 2018. I'm researching for a Doctorate of Education Creative and Media aka an Ed D. Those early questions are still as important in 2018 as they were in 2011. The Chicassos of 2017 now come with the BlackademicUK tag.
This entry was posted in Food and cooking, Nicaragua, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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