I, for one, am happiest when my avocado is surrounded by turkey slices, cream cheese, tomatoes, bread, and (most importantly) Guigni's Juice. If you know what I am talking about, then you know what I am talking about. For those of you less fortunate folks out there, let's suffice it say that you are missing out. You may enjoy your avocados any way you like, but you are missing out.
A few years back I had an experience that shattered my knowledge of avocados. I was quietly minding my own business (in other words, I have no idea what I was actually doing) when my friend Querubia brought me a tall glass with something green inside. "Try it," she requested, passing it off to me. I had no idea what I was trying, but I am usually game for anything so I did. "Well," she asked expectantly, "what do you think?" Hmm. Good question. What did I think?
"I think..." Wait. "I think..." (insert another sip) "I think it tastes like a turkey sandwich!"
By the quick shake of her head and puzzled expression I could tell that was not the answer she expected. She had made me an avocado smoothie and I told her it tasted like a sandwich. In my defense, up until that moment I have only ever enjoyed avocados in sandwiches, salads, and guacamole. Well, and plain with a little salt thrown on top, of course.
Here is where my dilemma comes. I, being raised in America, know that an avocado is a fruit yet I treat it like a vegetable. In fact, the very definition of avocado shows me that this is to be expected:
green-fleshed edible fruit: a fruit with a leathery dark green or blackish skin, a large stony seed, and soft smooth-tasting pale green flesh, eaten raw in salads or dips
Yet, when I searched for a definition in Portuguese, I just saw the first part -- the fruit part. No salads, no dips. Although Paulo now has a taste for them in his sandwiches and enjoys guacamole like the rest of us, given his options, he would rather mash it up with sugar and lemon, grab a spoon, and enjoy.
You should have seen the looks on the faces of the aunts and uncles in Brazil when I prepared guacamole for them. Squeezing lime juice in didn't surprise them, but the next step did. "Sal?" they asked. "Cebola?!" Yes, I put salt and onion in my avocado mix. Weird? I don't think so, but apparently south of the equator it is. Timidly they approached the bowl with the crackers (I couldn't find tortilla chips in the store) and sampled just a teeny, tiny bit. A few faces were made, shifty eyes moved around the crowd gauging the other responses and then finally someone yelled out, "Muito bom!" It was not just good, it was very good.
Now, whenever I am at Tio Nene's house a request is made for guacamole and whenever Paulo mixes up his plate of sweet avocado spread I grab a small spoon to join in. We may have our preferences, but we have crossed the cultural boundaries and prejudices. Avocados can be enjoyed salty or sweet, in a salad or in a smoothie.
If only we could do the same with the debate of which country grows the best avocados...
Guacamole (as I make it)
Mash 2 ripe avocados with the juice of 1 lime. Add in 1/2 onion, finely chopped, and 1 tomato, chopped. Add a dash or two of salt and stir.
Vitamina de Abacate (Avocado Smoothie)
Honestly, this one tastes best with Brazilian avocados (which are larger, have a softer skin, and are slimier in texture). Mix the flesh of 1 avocado, 2 cups of milk, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the blender. Makes two cups.
Creme de Abacate (Avocado Cream OR Paulo's Style Avocado in our house)
Mash an avocado with fresh squeezed lime juice and a tablespoon of sugar with a fork. Voila!