Mama Mulate’s backyard is a tropical maze of garden pathways, stone masonry, fountains and birdbaths. Flowering vines grow up trellises and the back fence. Ferns, flower baskets and wind chimes hang from the eaves of her large covered deck where tropical ceiling fans provide a steady flow of air when you’re lounging in her porch swing, or comfortable rattan furniture.
Mama also has a garden where she grows peppers, okra, melons, and many other vegetables. What she doesn’t grow in her own backyard, she buys fresh at the French Market, a destination she likes to visit early in the morning.
Summers are always hot and humid in the Big Easy. The City’s residents—at least those that don’t have a mountain retreat—have found ways to stay cool and healthy. Mama loves making chilled soups and then serving them on her covered deck to the slow whirring of overhead fans, dripping of water in the fountains, and sounds of crickets and tree frogs. For a wonderful summer respite, try Mama’s chilled mango-melon soup.
1 large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 large mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 limes, juiced
½ Tbsp. cinnamon, ground
Puree melon and mango chunks in a blender, until smooth, with lime juice and cinnamon. Pour into a large bowl, stirring well. Chill for at least 3 hours. Pour into glass bowls, garnish with strawberry slices and sliced almonds. Serve and enjoy.