Friday, March 31, 2006

Meijer and the avocado aficionado

avocados are on sale at Meijer, two for $2. I make my move.

a mid-fifties woman is occupying the "sweet-spot" (the area directly in front of the whole display) so I maneuver my cart and myself to the side of the display and reach in a bit to start searching for two beauties. almost immediately I hear a man's foreign accent ask, "how do you eat those? I try to peel and bite like fruit, no good. not fruit."

in a dramatic huff the avocado aficionado, (disguised as the mid-fifties woman) unleashes her education upon the poor foreign avocado-newbie. "technically, they are a fruit" she begins. she then delves into the intricacies of opening an avocado and removing the large seed inside. this is followed up by a detailed lesson into the health benefits of avocados when newbie questions the fat content. satisfied with that he asks "how to know which one to pick?" she quietly laughs, "that's easy, these have stickers on them telling you they are 'ripe'."

this advice surprises me a bit, because every avacado in the bin is labeled "ripe." basic statistics tells me that the odds of them all being ripe are not in aficionado's favor. besides, during this conversation I have been diligently squeezing ripe-labeled avocados that felt more like major league baseballs. "chalk one up to the Meijer marketing team," I think to myself.

newbie is heartened and manages to ask his most basic question again, "how do you eat?" this brings an excited smile to aficionado's face. "you should slice them very thin and gently lay the slices on toast. I use seven grain--no butter." my eyebrows raise, I've never heard of this recipe and it seems a little out there. I guess I would have chosen something a little more mainstream to introduce a person to avacados. foreign newbie frowns and replies, "I do not use toast." aficionado stops smiling and stammers, "well I guess you could also put them in a salad some tomatoes, onion, green pepper with a little oil and vinegar." clearly this is not her official preference. again, foreign newbie shakes his head, "I do not use lettuce." aficionado shuts down in a fluster of sputters, "well, I--uh,"

for some strange reason (maybe out of frustration for the whole conversation and the desire to hear it end quickly) I feel the need to offer a suggestion, "there's always guacamole and chips!" my "quirky/fun-loving voice" chirps out. they both turn to me, foreign newbie smiling, aficionado looking horrified and at the same moment they each respond: newbie says, "I like chips!" while aficionado declares, "that's the worst thing you could do to an avocado!"

the analytical portion of my mind wonders how guacamole could be the worst thing...except for the lettuce bit, isn't guacamole the same ingredients of the salad she just described? before I can brazenly challenge her strange comment newbie asks me for more information as aficionado shakes her head in horror.

"all you do is smash a very ripe avocado with a fork and mix in some salsa, little lemon juice and a pinch of salt. use some tortilla chips, or (as I sum up his ethnicity) pita chips, baked naan or flatbread and dip into the guacamole. it's easy!" I declare in a kindergarten-ish kind of glow. my whole explanation is laced with aficionado "tsk-ing", sighing out "nooo" along with a worrisome shake of her head. she finally interjects sternly, "avacados should not be smashed." like a naughty child pushing the buttons of an exasperated mother I turn to foreign newbie and offer, "another option is to just put everything in a blender and mix it that way." that mental scene seemed to intensify aficionado's overly delicate sensibilities.

finally finding the ripe avocados that I need for my quacamole feast, I leave the stand with aficionado whispering to newbie, "she's wrong, don't use avocados that way!"

before the comment box is filled with avocado recipes and/or little blue links to the "proper ettiquette of avocado living" allow me to be completely honest, I hate avocados. the only way I can stomach them is smashed into salsa and piled on a chip. if that makes me some sort of avocado brute, then so be it.

viva la guacamole and pass the chips!


  1. I absolutely love avacado sliced on Kashi crackers with Tofutti herb cream cheese and extra sharp cheddar cheese...a fettish I indulge in at least once a month!

    Your writing is impressive and would be great published in a magazine or newspaper column.

  2. Hurrah for squashed avacados!
    I also like them in sushi rolls. Does that makes me an avacado brute too?