A Mango Lassi and Memories of 9/11

It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since that fateful day in September 2001.  While Graham was in China watching events unfold from afar, I was actually in New York City visiting my sister.  She was in graduate school at NYU and we were staying at her apartment in Greenwich Village.  I had been there for about a week and was scheduled to fly back home on September 12th.  Within an instant my carefree vacation turned into a nightmare.

My sister’s roommate, Carol, had just left for work and we were slowly rolling ourselves out of bed when the first tower was struck.  We were shocked out of our morning daze when Carol ran frantically back up to the apartment to tell us that there was smoke pouring out of one of the towers.   We quickly threw on any clothes that we could find and ran downstairs to see if we could catch a glimpse of the burning building.

Neighbors had congregated at the base of the apartment where there was a clear view of both towers through a break in the surrounding structures.  There was a lot of confusion and speculation as to what had happened, but no clear answers among the crowd, so we went back upstairs to turn on the news.  By the time we got upstairs, we heard that the second tower had also been struck and there was no doubt that something terrible was underway.

Feelings of confusion, helplessness and fear rushed over us as we wondered what would happen next.  We ran around the apartment building trying to collect information from neighbors about what we were supposed to do.  As we were running through the halls, a collective scream emanated from the streets as people watched the unthinkable happen.  Within seconds the first of those seemingly unbreakable buildings disappeared from the skyline and was replaced by a thick plume of impenetrable smoke.  We heard another series of screams about half-an-hour later when the second tower fell as well.

As people and smoke streamed uptown, we decided it might be safer if we also joined the crowd trying to escape.  We regrouped at a friend’s apartment in midtown and furiously flipped through TV channels to hear the latest news and make sure there were no planes headed toward the Empire State Building or anywhere else in the country.

Once the commotion had died down a bit, we returned to my sister’s apartment.  The streets were eerily silent and the smoke and ash was still chokingly thick as we made our way back.  By that time we were experiencing an information and emotional overload and were physically exhausted.  Fortunately we found a store that was open, and were able to chow down on some comforting Double Stuff Oreos and watch a movie that helped us take our minds off the day’s events.

The next few days were kind of a blur as we tried to figure out a way to escape the torn up and ash-filled city.  Somehow we were able to catch a bus to Connecticut where my great aunt lived and it was a huge relief to breath fresh air again and not be constantly reminded of the horrible events we had just gone through.  When planes were once again flying, I was able to schedule a flight home from Hartford.  Getting on a plane a week after 9/11 was definitely a challenge, and not just because the perceived risk and heightened security, but also because I was leaving my sister alone to deal with the aftermath in New York.

As I said, it is hard to believe that it has been ten years since 9/11.  So much has changed in our own lives and the life of the nation, but in many ways we are still deeply bonded together by the events of that day.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post today, but I think it is good to reflect on what we all went through and think about all of the people who lost their lives or endured a much more traumatic experience than I did.  I also think it is a good opportunity to remember all those who are still experiencing the horrors of war, terrorism, famine, and other catastrophes around the world, and for us all to consider what we can do to alleviate their suffering.

I also wasn’t sure if I could tie a recipe to my reflections on 9/11.   The best I can do is offer this recipe for a mango lassi as a comfort food (or beverage).  It is very tasty and easy to make and a whole lot more healthy than the Double-Stuff Oreos that we ate to comfort ourselves immediately after the attacks.  I encourage you to raise a glass of this drink to remember all of those who left us that eerie day and hope that such horrific events will become a thing of the past, both here and abroad.

Mango Lassi

I looked at a several different mango lassi recipes for inspiration, but ended up coming up with my own version based on what I had on hand.

  • 2 small ripe mangos, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 1 pinch of cardamom

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more almond milk (or regular milk) if the consistency is too thick.

Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:

Recipe Report Card Notes About Recipe Ratings

Tasty Rating


Four Chefs (Delicious!)

We loved the sweetness from the mango and the hint of cardamom gave the lassi a little something special.

Easy Rating


Five Easy Chairs (Just Press Cook!)

Just throw it all in the blender and blend until smooth.

Healthy Rating


Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)

Unlike Oreos, this drink is low in fat and added sugar.

Green Rating


Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)

All organic ingredients, but not local.
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