The interwebs went bananas this week when the New York Times tweeted this simple guac hack: add green peas to your guacamole. Blasphemy, was the consensus. How dare you fix what is not broken? Avocadoes are sacred fruit — proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
From blogger Emma Lord at bustle.com:
"[The New York Times] is going to be shunned en masse from the avocado section in Whole Foods until the day they die. And you know what? Maybe they deserve it. After all, they screwed with America’s favorite food, a mere three days away from America’s birthday. This is some next level disrespect. WHO LET THIS HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE?"
Supposedly, POTUS even chimed in and tweeted:
(He forgot the lime and cilantro, which proves, finally, that no man is in fact perfect).
But just calm down for a moment, people. What we've got here is a classic pro chef's move. Something called "stretching," "cutting," or "bumping up" in the restaurant world. You low on an ingredient? Add something innocuous that won't be too easily detected. Does something lack body? Do the same thing.
An example: chimichurri is a condiment that turns mere beef into ambrosial inspiration. But it's only made from vinegar, herbs, citrus, garlic and cumin so can be thin and difficult to make for large groups— the cilantro and parsley puree down into almost nothing— you need a garden's worth to make it for a graduation party. Add a bit of pureed spinach for body and color. Bump it up. Voila- chimi that's bright green, spreadable and thanks to the other strong flavors, you don't even know that you're eating green veg, too.
We know you love your avocados. We know it. And as such you also know that one cup of the green goddess contains 21 grams of fat. And a serving is not a cup, you know this too. It's a bowl.
And did you also know these depressing facts about your favorite food?
It takes 72 gallons of water to grow a pound of avocados, compared to nine gallons to grow a pound of tomatoes. More than 80 percent of the avocados grown in the U.S. come from California. I'm sure you've heard a little thing about a little drought in that state? The demand for avocados is putting major, and troubling demands on farmers in that state. If Americans continue their insatiable lust affair with the avocado with the fervor we've been exhibiting in recent years, the price of a single avocado could rise to around six dollars. (For many of us, they're already a luxury item as it is).
Imports, primarily from Mexico and Chile make up 85 percent of the avocados consumed in the U.S. year-round. And, I haven't been able to shake this stat since I read it in New York Magazine's excellent article on the potential impending demise of the avocado, Avocados are Toast:
"In Mexico, where avocado farms are so lucrative that avocados are referred to as oro verde, or “green gold,” the problems are even more troubling. Seventy-two percent of the avocado plantations in Mexico are located in the state of Michoacán, and much of the industry there is controlled or influenced by the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel. The extent of the money laundering, extortion, and murder around avocados in Michoacán led one writer to equate avocados to Africa’s blood diamonds, while others have adopted the phrase “blood guacamole,” which might sour the mood around the chips at your next Super Bowl party."
Blood guacamole. Is sweet pea guac sounding a bit more appealing to you now? Are you willing to cut that green gold with a little, considerably politically less strife sweet pea puree yet?
Here at City Pages, we are intrepid and brave. So we tried it. And here is what we had to say:
"I liked it —personally couldn't tell too much of a difference between that and guac without peas. Without the visual confirmation that there were peas in the recipe (as garnish) I wouldn't have been able to taste the difference."
"It was delicious. I would/will totally make something like it myself. I'm an avocado person though, so you could put it on or in anything and I will probably like it. It's nature's butter, as I often joke. Overall the taste was light on the peas. Peas are a little like tofu in that they don't have a lot of flavor, but you can add them to things for texture."
"Yo, it was really great. At first I couldn't taste the difference between the peas and what you expect regular avocado guac to taste like. Couldn't mentally separate my expectations from the actual taste cuz it was such a close imitation. But I'd say the pea guac had a cleaner flavor overall."
Of course, every party needs a couple curmudgeons:
"The pea texture is distressing. Was not a fan. I'm just trying to figure out why this is a thing we need as a human race."
"I'm torn about peas infiltrating the already green goodness of regular ol' guac. At first it seemed like a great idea because I thought the taste of the avocado would mask the peas... but in fact, the peas were the first thing I tasted when I bit into my chip! But there was kind of like a slow fade into tasting traditional guac by the time I was done chewing. Several chips in, the theory held up: Peas at first, avocados at last. Would I use peas in my next batch of guac? Probably not, unless I was short on avocados. Maybe I'd put some fresh, shelled snap peas in as a garnish? (Or maybe better yet, just dip whole snap pea pods into the guacamole.)"
"I refused to eat it because I'm scrupulous and it had goddamn peas."