Mamma Mangoes
The Tales of a Hippie, Goddess,
Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother



Saturday Market - Eugene, Oregon 1977

Mamma Mangoes... how I have enjoyed that appelation. It came about in 1971 when I started the first vegetarian restaurant in Miami, in my home on North Waterway Drive, in an area known as Central Miami. Needing a name by which the restaurant would be known, having always loved mangoes and having already had the nickname "Mangoes" from my then husband, I chose the following:

Mamma Mangoes Underground Vegetarian Restaurant
All You Can Eat for $2.00
(Reservations Only)

Within two weeks of opening the doors, I had more business than I could handle and I loved every minute of it.

I arose each morning before five and baked a dozen loaves of multigrain bread. Most of them went to the Oak Feed Store, a health food store in Coconut Grove. (It was a very different Coconut Grove in those days. "The Grove" was mostly an artists' colony with a plenitude of "old-money Groveites" a couple of drug dealers, whom I heard of but never met, and a large black ghetto population.) A couple of the loaves went to other health food establishments and two loaves remained for the evening meal. I could only seat a limited number of people and even with two sittings, two loaves sufficed each day.

The meals were simple: brown rice, assorted vegetables, perhaps Yellow Squash Pancakes or a Tofu dish of some sort. At times I made Ratatoille and there were many other main courses. There was always an Avocado Salad made with the marvelous red-skinned avocados harvested from the tree in my back yard. I had planted that tree from a seed and it didn't bear fruit until it was thirteen years old... but what magnificent fruit it proved to be. The beverage was usually water and/or Peppermint Honey Punch or some other fruity drink.

Three months later a nosy neighbor (I never learned who it was) complained to the authorities that he/she thought I was running a "bawdy house," which I found hilariously funny, and I stopped serving meals. I became a partner in an established restaurant in Coral Gables called The Spiral. It had been macrobiotic but was not doing well. We changed the name to Mamma Mangoes Spiral and did very well for a time until my partner , who didn't get along with my husband, found a girlfriend. The girlfriend became a wife and she decided that she could do things as well as I could, or better and the partnership ended.

I went on to do other things which I may document here at some later date, but I'll now skip to my "Chatauqua," my trip around the country by myself, in my wonderful 1961 Ford Econoline van which had been converted, first by the gentleman from whom I purchased it and later by myself to my small but highly efficient rolling home.

The photo above shows me in Eugene, Oregon at the Saturday market, where I earned part of my living during the year I spent in that college town. During the week I managed a vegetarian restaurant called Honey's Cafe.

The photo below shows me back in Coconut Grove, making Tofu Sesame Drumstix and plying my trade at the Coconut Grove Art Festival in 1979.


Making Tofu Sesame Drumstix at the
Coconut Grove Art Festival 1979

In 1980, after having left the food business behind and moving on to other interests, I became a grandmother and three years later I moved to Atlanta, where I remain to this day. That's a whole new story, but the Mamma Mangoes' years were precious, a wonderful time of my life, and I still answer to the name "Mamma Mangoes." And, surprisingly enough, there are still a few people around who call me that.

For what's happening now, see The Trip or my blog at http://geritaran-inthecompanyofwriters.blogspot.com/. You can email me at: geri@inthecompanyofwriters.com.

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