Say whaaaaa?! NYT, you gotta keep it real — and simple — when it comes to guacamole recipes. Five key ingredients (you can count that on one hand) is all you need: avocado, cilantro, lime, jalapeño, salt. Bam! Now you can make the tastiest, pea-less, guac on the block.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Few things go together quite like tacos and guacamole. Or really fill in the blank and guacamole. Many of us are totally fine with putting avocado, and it’s condiment hermana, on pretty much anything.
So when news broke that taquerias in Mexico City have been serving more and more fake guacamole – or as we prefer to call it, “mock guac” – we were super incensed. I mean when I’m chomping down on tacos de bistec I expect to taste the rich and creamy topping that is guacamole.
But that tasty pleasure is becoming less and less common across Mexico. The reasons: the gigantic demand, the bad harvests, the Americans, and the drug cartels.
We first learned of this ultimate betrayal thanks to a story by Chilangomagazine who released a shocking expose.
Chilango, the magazine that covers all things Mexico City, was the first whistleblower that exposed the breach of avocado security last week. In the article, they reveal that a Twitter user named @Karligrafia was the first to tweet about the scam and become viral for it.
Tacos are staples of Mexico City palates. Thousands, if not millions of residents eat them every day from the thousands of street stalls and restaurants that dot nearly every corner of the capital. And if you can’t trust your taquero…who can you trust?
The country is not only the world’s largest exporter of avocados but also the largest consumer. A Mexican eats, on average, more than seven kilos of avocado.
But it’s not just Mexican demand causing it. The Americans are to blame as well.
Americans’ insatiable appetite for avocado is causing more and more tacos with fake guacamole to be sold in Mexico. Rising demand for the fruit in the US, caused by the craze for brunch dishes such as avocado on toast, as well as a weak crop in California, is increasing demand and forcing prices up in Mexico.
Last year alone, Mexico sold more than US.5 billion worth of avocados to the United States. A greater value than oil exports.
Even the Super Bowl is to blame.
For the 2019 Super Bowl alone, Mexico exported 120,000 tons of avocado to the United States, says APEAM, the Association of Avocado Producers and Exporters. 20% more than last year.
But it’s also a drug cartel problem.
And now even Mexican drug cartels are involved in the avocado business. In the state of Michoacán, the center of synthetic drug production and, thanks to geographical and climatic conditions, a “paradise” for the cultivation of avocados, drug traffickers extort the peasants, who pay for alleged “protection” or “land use rights” for the cultivation of “green gold.
But even worse: in order to increase the surface area of avocado crops, illegal logging of forests is increasing. Avocados need tons of water. A scarce commodity. And, to top it all, climate change is adding to the problem.
So what exactly is in this #mockguac?
Well, as avocado prices have soared, Mexican chefs have had to turn to a cheap and plentiful alternative, the humble calabacita – or Mexican zucchini squash.
Once the squash are boiled up and blended with the rest of the ingredients – green tomato, coriander and chili peppers – and pureed into a creamy, smooth consistency, some culinary experts claim few could tell the difference.
“The scariest part is that it tastes almost exactly like your standard taqueria guacamole: bright, spicy, rich, and very satisfying,” said Javier Cabral, editor of LATaco, a food and culture site and producer of Netflix series, Taco Chronicles.
This shocking news got us like…
Same child. Same.
Many were surprised that this news of #faceguac wasn’t making bigger headlines around the world!
We are in 100% agreement. I mean this story has everything you need to go big – betrayal, lies, drama.
But at least one Twitter user reminded us that things could be much much worse.
I mean…mayo with guacamole. Noooo thank you. I’ll take a Mexican vegetable substitute any day over this. Although, it’s not totally far fetched. For awhile there were rumors that Chipotle was adding sour cream to it’s guacamole to make it last longer and prevent it from browning too quickly.
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