About me

October 23, 2010

The Avocado: A Reason to Stay

If I ever move away from the Bay Area, it's hard to say which I'd miss more: my friends or the avocados.

I kid, of course. But when I moved to San Francisco from the East Coast eleven years ago, I was amazed by the abundance of fresh produce available year round--and by the perfect avocados in particular. I bragged to my sister in Maine that in California, you don't have to plan ahead to make guacamole: the avocados are always ripe. I think I may have even used it as justification for what was beginning to look like a permanent stay on the West coast.

In Maine, when I was a kid, if you were making something that called for avocado, like guacamole, you couldn't assume you'd find them at the supermarket, piled amongst the cellophane-wrapped iceberg lettuce and pulpy tomatoes. And if they were in stock, the solid flesh under the bumpy skin almost always failed the check-for-ripeness squeeze.

But even if they were not ready to eat, we were happy to have them. So we'd take the rock hard avocados home and store them in brown paper bags on the kitchen counter, hopeful it would aid the ripening process. Most often, though, this method took them from overly firm to mush, the insides brown and rotted, not green and smooth, when we sliced them open. Sometimes we'd impatiently skip this "ripening" step altogether and mash the hard flesh with a fork, forcing it into a bland, lumpy guacamole that never really satisfied.

I think I eat about a half an avocado a day now, if not a whole one, smeared on a bagel and topped with melted cheddar cheese, as an addition to a turkey sandwich, folded into an omelet, or in the form of guacamole at one of the many taquerias in my neighborhood. The creamy flesh makes its way into most every meal one way or another.

But my favorite--and by far the simplest--way I've found to consume the soft, silken fruit is to slice a perfectly ripe avocado in half, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice, and scoop it straight from the skin with a spoon.

Pure luxury to this girl from Maine. And a reason to stay.


  1. great photos! great start for your blog!

  2. Thank you! Let me know when you get your photo blog up and running...

  3. I just came to say 'hi', as I'm testing your buckwheat crepes and pears recipe on Food52. So far so good--I just have to overcome Saturday afternoon inertia and go get some hazelnuts. Oh, and avocados--I bought 5 last week and they all ripened at the same instant and I only got to eat 3. Is there room for me out there?