This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
One of my few lingering childhood memories of my late mother is linked to avocado. When I was a kid, I hated eating avocado. I didn’t like the cold, creamy and slimy texture, nor the bland taste.
Much to my dismay, my mother almost always served a sliver of it with dinner. Knowing my aversion to the fruit, she sometimes mashed and mixed the avocado with my rice, beans and meat, usually chicken. To be clear, this was not guacamole, just mashed avocado. Other times, she left the slice intact, so that I was taunted by its dark and light green tones.
In my stubbornness and ignorance, I ate everything else on my plate and left the avocado untouched. Neither the threat of having to sit at the table for hours long after everyone else had risen, nor a spanking could induce me to eat the damn avocado.
The first time I tasted guacamole was in my early twenties. As I write this, it seems crazy even to me, but allow me to explain. Guacamole in my circle wasn’t as common as it seems to be now. As a kid, when we had family gatherings, the adults provided salad, a variety of rice (with vegetables or beans), and a variety of pastas, like mac & cheese, lasagna and baked ziti.
I didn’t experience real Mexican food until later years. My high school served Taco Bell, but I said “real Mexican food.” They weren’t serving guacamole with our sad-looking tacos and burritos. In my early twenties, I was living on my own and also a college student. Eating out or buying prepared food was a rarity. Getting Chinese food was as fancy as I could manage when I wanted a small step up from Wendy’s or Burger King. When finances got better and I could eat at places (once in a while) with cloth napkins, I didn’t opt for “chips and guac” as an appetizer at restaurants. I preferred mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, or potato skins.
Back to my first time trying guacamole. My cousin was having a get-together at his house and his girlfriend made fresh guacamole. When I was offered some, I declined on the basis of my not liking guacamole. The whole room of a dozen plus people seemed to gasp in unison.
“You don’t like guacamole?”
“I don’t like avocados.”
“But this is guacamole.”
Avocados versus mashed up avocados with onion, black pepper, lemon juice and whatnot. Same difference. No, thank you.
It’s called peer pressure for a reason.
I grabbed a chip and dipped it ever so delicately in the guacamole. I was more worried about getting actual guacamole than breaking the chip. It was not the nastiness of years past. My tongue was pleasantly surprised at the zangy taste dancing on its taste buds. I dipped another chip and caught more guacamole. It wasn’t a fluke.
From then on, whenever I could afford it, I bought guacamole at the supermarket. I didn’t dare try to make my own homemade version mostly because I didn’t and still don’t know how to shop for avocados. I watched a YouTube video on how to choose the best avocadoes, but when faced with the choice, I blank out. Is it good that it’s firm? Do I want it to have a little give? Thank goodness for Fresh Direct.
Much like hummus, it took trial and error before I found the right brand for guacamole. I also learned to read labels. If the ingredient list included anything ending with –ide or –ium, I put it back. This was a lesson learned after I had a small case of guac in the fridge that did not turn brown after several days. Very suspicious, indeed.
My college roommate is the only other person who knows how far I’ve come. A Santa Barbara native, she had her mother ship avocados by the boxload to our dorm in Wellesley, Massachusetts. I looked on in disgust as she sat cross-legged on the floor, spread the sliced the avocado on bread then sprinkled Adobo on top before taking a bite. She ate perhaps a half, if not whole avocado per day. She never had to worry about sharing her stash with me. Her ramen noodles were another story.
I wanted to share the news that I was a convert. I sent her a picture text of store-bought guacamole. She was surprised and used the opportunity to tell me she was pregnant with her first child. A few years later when I was going through a serious bout of craving guacamole all the time, I texted to ask if she were pregnant again. She was.
I dared myself to consume avocado not in guacamole form. I ordered avocado turkey or chicken club sandwiches, but with bacon, just in case. Bacon makes everything taste better. I was hesitant to add avocado to smoothie recipes I found on the internet once I started having them daily. Like bananas, it makes them richer and creamier, which I prefer.
The health benefits, such as essential nutrients, fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid, all of which are great for skin, hair and nails, are added bonuses. The former dreaded fruit is now one of my favorites. I have tools like a 3-in-1 slicer and a storage container. I enjoy a side of avocado with an omelet almost every weekend. I’ve made pasta with avocado sauce several times. I eat Stacy’s multigrain pita chips with guacamole and shredded sharp cheddar cheese as a pre-dinner snack most nights. My mother would be so proud.