My very first taste of an avocado was when I was thirteen years old and it was love at first bite. I had never seen anything that looked like an avocado before, and when my mother cut it in half I was intrigued by the yellowy green substance surrounding the large pit. She sprinkled the half with salt and pepper, handed me a teaspoon, and I was transported to another level of food appreciation.
I don’t recall when I first encountered a bowl of guacamole but that delicious concoction is on my top ten list of food I would want to be stranded with on a desert island—so hopefully it would be one with plenty of avocado trees. My late father-in-law owned an avocado grove in Fallbrook, California, and with every visit we were forced to load up the car with bags full of the luscious fruit—but I wasn’t complaining!
For eating by itself, there is no comparison, in my humble opinion, to the Hass variety, which is grown in California. It has a rich, creamy taste and texture—I consider it to be the ice cream of avocados and I accept no substitutes!
There are so many ways to eat avocados it would be impossible to write about them all here. One of my favorites is with a poached egg for breakfast. I put a Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Pancake in the toaster oven, poach the egg, and slice the avocado. When everything is ready I mash it all up on the plate. It does sound disgusting, I agree, but the taste is yummy.
Another way is to chop up some red onion, mix it with the mashed avocado, and pile it on top of a thick, toasted slice of green olive bread. Yummy, yummy.
For an extra zing you can throw in some fresh chopped garlic. It just keeps on getting yummier, doesn’t it?
Of course, you can always cut it up in chunks and toss it with your favorite salad. The deep flavor of the Hass won’t get lost in the other ingredients.
On a hot summer day there is probably nothing better than adding some avocado slices to an artfully arranged plate of veggies and fruit such as cucumbers, tomatoes, pears, and tangerines, with a handful of olives and grapes thrown in for good measure. Sprinkle everything with lemon juice—and even some chile powder if you are really adventurous!
I have eaten guacamole of all variations and ilks and never met a bowl I didn’t like. Once every couple of weeks I treat myself to a chicken salad at Chipotle’s in Culver City. I like to ask for a side of guacamole which I either eat by itself as an appetizer or, if I am especially hungry, with an order of their wonderful tortilla chips, or I just mix it into the salad. Anyway you have it, right now that is my favorite guac, as it is both chunky and flavorful.
According to the Hass Avocado Board website, one-fifth of a medium avocado (50 calories) can contribute to your diet “nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including 4% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E, 4% vitamin C, 8% folate, 4% fiber, 2% iron, 4% potassium, with 81 micrograms of lutein and 19 micrograms of beta-carotene.” For those people (like myself) who have the beginnings of macular degeneration, you probably already know that lutein and beta carotene are two of the most important nutrients for reducing the effects of that problem. And with their mono and polyunsaturated fat content, avocados are a healthier no-cholesterol substitute for foods such as butter which is rich in saturated fat.
There are at least two avocado festivals within easy reach of a day trip from Los Angeles. One is the Fallbrook Avocado Festival in April. I have not been to this one but I’m putting it on my calendar for 2010.
In 2007 some friends and I drove up to Carpenteria for the California Avocado Festival. It was a lot of fun, and you couldn’t ask for a better location just yards from the ocean. I am planning to go again this year on October 3rd, so I hope to see you there!