Thursday, March 24, 2011

Trader Joe's Just Mango Slices: My new best (dehydrated) friend

I was a little overconfident going into Lent this year.

“Another 46 days without dessert?” I thought. “Piece of (rice) cake!”

I really thought that I’d be fine for this go-around. I’d voluntarily given up desserts for two weeks in September and then purged them again for another week in early February. It hadn’t been particularly hard on either occasion – seemingly because I’d already primed the pump for sugar deprivation during my first dessert-free Lent last year.

The first few days of Lent were actually okay this time – I wasn’t having headaches like last February, and was feeling half-way normal (ie. not having dreams about gorging on frosting). But after the first week had passed, things started to get a little more hairy. At a media dinner at LA Market last Tuesday, I had to stand away from the table while my dining companions attacked a giant dessert platter of sno-balls, cotton candy, caramel popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and rice krispies treats made of fruit loops. It was equally hard this past Monday when I finished lunch and realized that, yet again, I wasn’t able to “cleanse my palate” with dark chocolate.

While I’ve been trying to get through Lent this year without resorting to any of the pinch-hitters I relied on last year – flavored Greek yogurt loaded with dried cranberries and frozen blueberries, super sweet dates that taste like caramel, etc. – my tongue started to get a little itchy over the weekend. First I latched on to some unsweetened dried peaches from a stand at the Farmer’s Market at Third and Fairfax, and then, on a whim, I threw a bag of Trader Joe’s Just Mango Slices into my grocery basket on Saturday.

I hadn’t expected much from the thin, jerky-like slabs of unsweetened, dehydrated mango. They looked a bit sad all clumped together in the clear packaging – hardly even worth the effort to extract a couple pieces from the mango mass.

But when I sat down to watch last night’s “Top Chef” with them, armed, as usual, with a cup of peach rooibos tea, I was arrested by their chewy texture and subtly sweet mango flavor.

“It’s like a fruit roll-up that’s actually made of fruit!” I thought with giddy pleasure as I reached for a second piece.

While Trader Joe’s Just Mango Slices is not an item I’m planning to gorge on during those dark moments of sugar-crazed weakness (4 thin pieces contains 120 calories), I think I’ve found my new best friend for the next 31 days.

Not counting God, of course. (He’s got that almighty, whole-world-in-His-hands thing going on.)


stuffycheaks said...

OMG I'm not joking, I eat a couple slices of these every day! Avoid the 'Soft & Juicy' version that is on the same shelf, its kindds sticky

Valentina said...

I loved these so much that I had to stop buying them because i was eating the whole bag in one sitting. Like every day. It was an obsession.

Gastronomer said...

As you know, my loyalties are with the chili coated dried mangoes. Love them SO much. I go through about a package a week.

Esi said...

I'm so picking these up the next time I'm at TJs!

the nomster said...

Ah! I totally use dark chocolate as a "palate cleanser" too!! There's a box of broken up trader joe's pieces on my desk right now! and wow, good luck with having no dessert!

Kung Food Panda said...

Have you tried those dried mangos from the Philippines that's sold at Costco? Those are pretty good as well!

mamaro said...

Have you noticed that the quality of the mangos has drastically changed? They used to be bright orange and taste subtly like cotton candy and super fresh mango. Now they are hard, crackly, spiny, and dark! What have they done? It was my candy replacement!