JMom of “In Our Kitchen” is hosting this monthâ€™s Lasang Pinoy 11, with the selected topic of â€œSummertime Coolers and Memories of Summer.â€ This whole theme of food and childhood memories is an extremely powerful one and I have noticed this throughout the evolution of the Marketmanila blog. As if to validate our strong feelings on this topic, The International Herald Tribune actually had some articles the other day referring to the same issue. When I tried to think back to the summer months and what was considered an absolute treat, it would have to be coffee mangosteen ice cream. Even then, this was a totally special flavor, only available 1-2 months out of the year just after an abundant season of fresh mangosteen, and it was much more expensive than the other more “common” flavors. I can still remember the â€œhairyâ€ pulp covered seeds of mangosteen which had turned a dark brown from stewing in sugar that would be enrobed in coffee flavored ice cream. Yes, this was a special summertime cooler of the most memorable kindâ€¦
Perhaps even better than the store bought flavor, we used to create our own version by buying coffee ice cream the rest of the year and adding this exquisite mangosteen jam from the Lorenzo farms in Mindanao. My mother used to literally hoard this jam and you must have done something good to warrant a large dollop of this precious commodity on your ice cream. Oddly, as a kid, I loved the hairy pulp and more importantly, the crunchy seed withinâ€¦I used to bite down on the seeds like I had found the treasure within the half gallon of ice cream. I have never noticed this flavor on offer in past decade or moreâ€¦perhaps it was just too expensive to manufacture and still make a profit onâ€¦ and for at least 15 years I have not seen any decent mangosteen jam in bottles either. That is, until a few weeks ago when I found some mangosteen jam made by Kablon Farms in South Cotabato. I bought 3 jars before I even tasted it, hoping it would be good and I would therefore have enoughâ€¦ the jam is very good, though a lighter color and slightly sweeter than what I recall from childhood and the seeds are smaller and less pulpy but it is supposed to be made with organically raised fruit. I ran to the nearest grocery and purchased some Haagen Daz coffee ice cream and back home scooped some into a cup, added two huge spoonfuls of mangosteen jam, closed my eyes and turned back the clock by 30 yearsâ€¦yes, memories of summer indeed.