It’s funny to think that before 2012 I had no love for or even awareness of avocado, what it tastes like or what to eat it with. It was during the Summer that I tried it for the first time. Someone I hung out with a lot at the time had a passion for them and well, some say ‘Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you what you eat’. OK, no one really says that, but I remember my dad drilling me with this very truthful Spanish saying since I was very young: ‘Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are‘. The English versions for it could be ‘Hunt with cats and you catch only rats‘ or ‘You can judge a man by the company he keeps‘.
It’s funny how who you surround yourself with influences so much of who you are at any stage in your life: how you spend your time, energy, money; the habits you develop (the good and the not so good), your day-to-day pace… If you think of all the people who have come and gone in your life, what are the things that stuck the most? What are aspects of your life that you could somewhat attribute to the different people you met? In my case, food and music are two things which I can associate and sometimes thank for to different people I’ve come to know. So much so that when I hear certain genres of music, bands or singers, or when I eat certain foods… my memory suddenly awakens.
Sometimes I can even pinpoint the exact moment I first ate something and with who, or the time I danced to a particular song or enjoyed a band and who first showed them to me. From Power of Love all-time classics, The Strokes, Of Monsters and Men, Macaco… or perhaps the first time I enjoyed Spanish omelette with my granny in Calella or sushi two weeks ago, here in Dublin. It’s a mix of nostalgia and time travelling; it’s pretty cool.
Anyways, baaack to the avocados. They are all over the place now but when I decided to give them a chance back in 2012 they weren’t as popular in cafés or even at supermarkets. Or maybe I just didn’t see them because I wasn’t looking for them.
I have made guacamole bazillion times since, and it has become a huge part of my diet. It’s comforting, healthy, delicious and can be eaten with almost anything. As a true guac or anything-avocado lover, I am planning to go to an only-avocado restaurant – YES, everything is made with AVOCADO! It is called The Avocado Show and it is in the Museum Quarter, Amsterdam. Also, if you are a true guacamole lover you will love this song and will not even question the video or the reasons the woman in it had when she went for it…
During my research for this post I found a couple of good resources that I thought I’d share; learnt a couple of tricks and fun facts:
- A bit history and etymology… The word avocado comes from the Nahuatl word Ahuacatl, which literally translates into “testicle tree” (guess why). The Spanish conquistadors named it aguacate, and combined with the Mexican word for sauce, mole (from the Aztec word molli), the guacamole came to be. Avocados grow in pears and were the symbol of love and fertility, so women in Aztec villages were not allowed to leave the house during the avocado harvest for fear of sexual impurity. In Jamaica it is also known as the ‘alligator pear tree’.
- A bit of science…
On ripening faster: ripening in fruits is regulated by a gas called ethylene, whichis produced naturally by the fruit. The higher the concentration, the faster it ripens. To “accelerate” the ripening, leave the avocado in a paper bag, at room temperature. If you throw in a banana (ehtylene powerhouse!) it can ripen even quicker.
On ripening slower: you can refrigerate a ripened avocado to buy yourself more time.
On avoiding browning: oxygen is the enemy of a green soft avocado. When you end up with leftover avocado, forget about the cling film, place in a container filled with water and in the fridge. Oh! And leaving the seed stone in is a myth, it doesn’t help prevent browning.
- A bit of nutrition…
Avocado is the fruit with the lowest sugar, highest protein and good fat content of all. Good fats and fibre, lots of potassium, vitamins, but it’s true, it’s a bit high in calories/g (215kcal in a medium-sized avo) – you can’t get it all!
The recipe below is my own personal one and it probably won’t make everyone as happy. I’d say that, like with anything, you need to find how you like it best. Start with a basic avocado+salt+lime juice and go from there. Also, if you feel inspired, this is how you can plant your own avocado tree.
I hope you enjoy! If you do make it and love it, please let me know 😉
*09-02-2018 After I posted this recipe a friend sent me an article which made me think. It is an article about how the avocado is produced and processed, the journey from the seed to the supermarket-labeled-Eat-me-I’m-ripe- avocado. Interesting to be aware and understand. Sadly, I agree with many of the points the author makes. When we enter a grocery store and consume, we are supporting the supply chains that give us access to those products. Every day, we participate in so many inconsistencies, we consume food that is healthy for our bodies but support industries that do the opposite to the planet. I personally participate in many of these every single day. At this point in time, we eat and buy food as a way to not only feed ourselves but to position ourselves in society, to help define who we are. I read an article a while ago and found this point relevant to this topic: “[The aspirational class people] distance themselves from conventional material goods not because they are uncomfortable with wealth … but rather because material goods are no longer a clear signal of social position or a good conduit to reveal cultural capital or knowledge” says Elizabeth Currid-Halkett (public policy professor). In the same article… “Luxury—with all the aspiration, ambivalence, and envy we feel for it—isn’t just a bug of society. It’s a feature, fundamental to what makes us human.”If you’re interested in getting a better understanding of the history and evolution of luxury, and its role on society, check out this Quartz article.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 lime juice
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- cherry tomatoes, chopped in small pieces
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (or garlic powder)
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- green/red chilli, finely chopped (or none, if you’re not into spicy food)
- salt, pepper, paprika
- olive oil (optional)
- Chili flakes or finely chopped fresh chili
- Fresh garlic
- With a knife, cut into the top of the avocado until the blade meets the seed store in the centre, then slice your way around it. Twist to separate the halves, pinch the stone with your knife and twist to remove. Hold the avocado on one hand while cutting into the flesh forming a grid. With a fork, spoon the flesh out.
- Place avocado in a bowl, roughly smash with the fork. Add other ingredients and mix.
- With a mortar & pestle, mash up the garlic, cilantro, chillis and spices. This will help release their soul and will give way more flavour to the guac. Add to mashed avocado and mix. Add lime juice and olive oil.
- Add chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro, mix well.
How to eat it?
- Raw carrots or sugarsnaps
- Bakes sweet potatoes
- Nachos, crackers
- Spread it on toast or in a sandwich
- In a salad
- Eat it with a spoon?
I like my guac chunky but you could make it creamier by using a food processor too!