Buchler: Guac is life — an expert’s guide to guacamole
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When, exactly, is the point that a passion can be categorized as a ridiculous obsession? Is it when I make it my home screen on my iPhone? Or is it when I get it emblazoned on a sweatshirt?
Surely that borderline has been crossed when I dedicate my only column of the semester to it.
No, I’m not talking about some magical, life-changing relationship (that I’m not in) or about my undying love for a pet (that I don’t own); this is strictly about avocados and guacamole. Remember that avocado-obsessed lady from the Subway commercials a few years back? Yeah, I’m her.
I don’t quite recall when this avocado affair began. All I know is that, during high school, there was a period when I would come home in the afternoon, make myself a bowl of guac and watch “Ellen.” One night, when I was the only one awake in my house, I found myself in the kitchen at 11 p.m., mashing up chunks of avocado. You know, just teen things.
Suffice to say, I’ve had a fair amount of practice with guac and have picked up a few techniques along the way.
First, the key to good guac-making is shopping right. When visiting Kroger or Meijer (or Whole Foods if you like your produce with a side of pretentiousness), make sure you go with a complete grocery list. In my guacamole, I usually go for avocados, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño pepper, salt, pepper, cumin and lemon juice.
Be sure to select avocados that are firm but not rock-hard. If you do buy ones that are a little before their prime, ripen them on your counter or in a paper bag. When they’re ready to eat, put them in the refrigerator until you’re about to use them to keep them from getting overripe.
The quantities are really up to interpretation—if you like breathing fire, go ahead and add a whole jalapeño; I won’t judge. You may have to make a few batches before you figure out what you like, but that’s OK. There’s no such thing as too much guacamole.
Once you get all your ingredients assembled, start with the avocado. Cut it open lengthwise along the pit and twist it to separate the two halves. Next, puncture the pit in the center and rotate around it with a knife to extract it.
Score the flesh of the avocado and scoop it out with a spoon; this will make it easier to mash. Then, use the tines of a fork to make the guacamole as chunky or smooth as you’d like. Add in the rest of your ingredients and you’ve got magic in a bowl.
Be careful, though: Avocados are pretty finicky. If you can’t inhale a bowl of guac like I can, it’ll probably start to turn a little brown, so if you’re one of those people who likes his/her food to be Instagram-ready, time is of the essence. Your guac doesn’t have all day.
No one should need a reason to enjoy a bowl of guacamole, but I understand that some like to reserve making certain foods for special occasions. That said, be sure to mark your calendars for National Guacamole Day, otherwise known to the unenlightened as Sept. 16. Let us all raise a tortilla chip in its honor.
Whether you’ve never tried guacamole or you’re a seasoned veteran, get yourself some avocados as soon as possible and start mashing; you won’t regret it. As my favorite sweatshirt says, “Guac is life.”
Kristen is a first-year English student and the IC’s Copy Editor.