Pastor Mom’s friend from Mexico, who recently visited with us for several weeks, tells me that avocadoes go for about a quarter apiece just the other side of the border. I am dark green with envy.
Lately, avocadoes have been selling for about a buck each here in California. I think I need to grab me some pesos and take a little road trip to Mexicali.
I am beginning to understand why the wonderful taqueria just across the street from the parsonage does not serve guacamole. To obtain any kind of reasonable ROI, they’d have to sell it at a price higher than most of the clientele (well, the sane ones, anyway) would be willing to pay. And they certainly wouldn’t be setting any out on the salsa bar with the jalapeños or adding it to tacos and burritos as a condiment.
I am told that money doesn’t grow on trees, but I have it on good authority that avocadoes do. So why they’ve turned out to be some kind of green gold remains a mystery to me.
If anyone complains about the price or quality of produce around these parts, the answer will undoubtedly be “it’s the drought.” I am used to it being dry here in California, so it rarely occurs to me that Mother Nature hasn’t been particularly cooperative for the past few years. You can tell I’m a city slicker, not a farm boy. I’m told that the crops have to be watered and that bringing in water costs money, thus jacking up food prices and pissing everyone off. Apparently, irrigation leads to irritation.
As we just had our state elections, I keep hearing that it’s all the politicians’ fault. I suppose Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein should be performing a rain dance on the floor of the Senate. The legislators up here in Sacramento might want to join in, too. If nothing else, it’d be a good photo op.
This is the season of the year when observant Jews add the Hebrew phrase mashiv ha’ruakh u’morid ha’gashem to our daily prayers. It’s a reference to God, “who makes the wind to blow and the rain to fall.” For centuries, imploring the Lord for rain was a serious matter. Without it, the people and animals would go thirsty and then nothing would grow, so we’d go hungry as well. In Biblical times, drought meant death, and often prompted mass migrations to areas where potable water was available. That’s how Jacob and his sons ended up in Egypt, a land irrigated by the Nile.
I wonder if there were avocadoes back then. If there were, I imagine that they may have been split open against the rocks, after which the insides would be scooped into an earthen bowl and pounded with a mortar. I don’t know whether we had tortillas, and matzos weren’t invented until the day we finally left Egypt following 400 years of slavery. But we do know that dough was kneaded and left to rise on hot stones, so perhaps my forebears did know the joys of the guaco taco.
Somehow, the avocado never seemed to make it into classic Jewish cuisine. I don’t recall having even heard of avocadoes until I went away to college and spied those funny-looking things at the local food co-op. Was it a fruit or a vegetable? Are you supposed to peel it? How do you even spell it? Pluralized with an –es like “potatoes?” Nah, that doesn’t look right. I was told that avocadoes are used to make guacamole, an explanation that I found singularly unhelpful. I had no idea what guacamole was. I just nodded and smiled rather than further reveal the depths of my ignorance.
Some forty years later, I am still relatively ignorant when it comes to avocadoes. When they are affordable, my wife buys avocadoes that are in a hard, unripe state and then softens them up by allowing them to sit in a paper bag for a few days. Then they go in the fridge.
Sadly, the last batch of avocadoes we bought ended up going in the trash. On the day I got out the lemon juice and garlic, I split open our lovelies only to find that they were completely rotten inside.
You can feel sorry for me now. I’m singin’ the Uncle Guacamole blues over here.