LaunchPAD gives young foodies a taste of mangoes

October 1, 2018

SIOUX CITY -- Tristan Zumo is a maniac when it comes to mangoes.

The Morningside Elementary School fourth grader likes eating them for breakfast, as a snack or for dessert.

“Don’t know why I like ’em so well,” Tristan, 9, said. “They just taste good, I guess.”

Tristan was one of the wannabe food scientists getting a crash course on making mango ice cream at LaunchPAD Children’s Museum on Thursday night.

As a way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15), many Children’s Museum’s special events have a south-of-the-border tie-in.

“While they are grown in other parts of the world, Mexico is a big producer of mangoes,” education manager Alyssa Miller explained. “This allows us to introduce children to a fruit they’ve never had before.”

Even though Yareli Flores has eaten mangoes her entire life, the Woodbury County 4-H youth worker is a novice when it comes to using the fruit to flavor ice cream.

“I’ve made it at home a few times,” Flores, the program’s instructor, said. “But this will be the first time I’ve demonstrated it for a group of kids.”

Luckily, she had a steady stream of pint-sized sous chefs that included Melanie Loutsch, a Morningside Elementary School kindergartner.

“Oh, I love mangoes,” the 6-year-old Sioux City girl said as she helped Flores mix mango puree into whipping cream. “It’s my favorite fruit.”

Had Melanie ever eaten a mango before?

“I can’t remember,” she said, not afraid of contradicting herself in record time.

Miller listened intensely when Flores discussed fun facts and nutritional information about the colorful fruit.

“I love these types of events,” she said. “Adults learn as much as their kids do.”

For instance, Miller discovered she had a hankering for homemade mango ice cream.

“I’ve eaten mangoes before but I never thought to combine them with ice cream,” she said after sampling the finished product. “It was delicious.”

Ben Bermudez, 6, also gave the mango ice cream a thumbs-up and so did his dad, Alan Bermudez.

“I was telling Ben that when I was a kid, I’d visit my cousin’s mango farm in Mexico,” Alan Bermudez said. “Before the mangoes turned ripe, my cousin and I would take slingshots and knock them off of the trees.

“Unripened mangoes are sour, not sweet, and these were delicious,” he said, smiling at the memory. “You’d put a little salt on them and that’s it. The mangoes were so refreshing.”

As his dad related a childhood memory, Ben Bermudez simply kept on eating more ice cream.

“I don’t think it matters if my kids are eating mango ice cream or broccoli ice cream,” Alan Bermudez said with a shrug. “If it’s ice cream, they’ll eat it.”

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