Apparently The First English Recipe For Guacamole Was Written By A Pirate And Why Aren’t We Surprised
Have you ever wondered how guacamole ever made its way into a worldwide phenomenon? That is, beyond the fact that of course everyone likes it because it is hella delicious. Rather, have you brushed up on your history, and could you tell us about the who, what, when, where and how of guac’s ascendency to culinary fame? We’re guessing the answer’s no, since you’re still here, reading. Well, buckle up, kids. This is the story about how the original guac recipe made its way into the English language.
The story starts with a white dude. Because of course it does.
To give you a bit of background, British-born William Dampier is the guy who put pen to paper and immortalized the first guacamole recipe in English. But, the story about how he got to that point is more interesting than it would seem. Dampier was a pirate, who started his career in 1679, in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche. This was back in the day where the gold standard of a pirate diet was basically dried beef, bread and warm beer – yeah, there’s nothing more that tastes of success than warm beer. The worst a pirate’s lifestyle lead to situations that included cannibalism and scurvy. It makes Pirates of the Caribbeansound like a picnic.
So here’s the thing. Dampier’s fascination with food is understandable. After all, it’s not like he was experiencing fine dining when he was at sea. What was a little more unusual was the fact that he decided to write about his experiences tasting the myriad of dishes he was offered throughout his travels. In fact, Dampier’s record-keeping was so meticulous that after fifteen years of piracy, he converted his notes into a bestselling novel: A New Voyage Around the World. Okay, okay, he was also probably motivated to explore a career as an author at that time because Spain had sentenced him to a year in prison. Nobody’s perfect, right?
Yeah, but get to the part about guac.
If you’re thinking that Dampier’s story is sounding a little familiar, we’ll tell you why: he was one hell of a basic travel blogger. He literally experienced the same existential crisis we all have in our twenties, decided that the standard career paths in logging and sugar plantations weren’t for him, and then set off around the world documenting his travels. We all know that if he had access to Insta, he would’ve been killing it in the influencer game.
Dampier’s journeys saw him mix with the locals he met throughout Latin America, and that’s where he fell in love with guacamole. It was in the Bay of Panama that Dampier wrote about a fruit “as big as a large lemon … [with] skin [like] black bark, and pretty smooth.” More flavor was added to it when the ripened fruit was “mixed with sugar and lime juice and beaten together [on] a plate.” And there we have it, amigas: the OG guac recipe, in English.
And that brings us to the guac recipes of today.
Obviously, guacamole as a recipe hasn’t stayed the same since Dampier’s time. Granted, your abuelita probably puts her own special twist on her guac creations. That’s why we all love her so much – and why her guacamole recipes always keep us coming back for seconds … and thirds.
Then again, we’ve also seen some pretty horrendous reincarnations of the beloved guac. Some more atrocious examples of this include adding ranch seasoning to the standard recipe, some godforsaken pineapple guacamole, a moron’s take that saw fresh peas added with a hold on the lime juice, and for whatever reason the decision to include lettuce. Oh, and let’s not forget about the pomegranate guacamole.
So, what crazy takes have you seen on the traditional guac? Or better yet, do you have a favorite, go-to guacamole recipe? Let us know on Facebook – you can find us through the icon at the top of the page.
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