Sort-of-friends get the smaller bowl. It holds about three cups of guacamole, no more, no less. This bowl means: I like you. You are nice.
If we've been friends for longer, if we have real history, if you knew me in grad school or have seen me cry or lent me a dress, well, you'll get one of my BIGGER bowls. These suckers hold five cups of guacamole easy, maybe six. If I plunk one down, we're in for a long, leisurely catch-up, probably outside, probably without shoes. These bowls mean: I really like you. You are not only nice, but important to me, and I won't hustle you out the door in 50 minutes, which is about the time it takes me to get bored with most people.
Guacamole, and avocados, have always been more than foods to me. They've been barometers.
And this is basically why I said yes when Avocados of Mexico offered to bring me down to Mexico City. I wanted to learn more about the fruit with which I already had such a longstanding, symbolic relationship.
Mexican avocados are grown in the sunny central state of Michoacán. The vast majority are Hass, which is the variety most familiar to Americans because it also dominates the California avocado industry. But while California's growing season lasts only half the year (roughly March through September), Mexico's runs year-round. With four "blooms" during the year, Mexican growers can time when they pick the fruit to maximize its quality and oil content.
The health benefits of avocados are well-known, so I won't belabor that point too much (you can find more details here): suffice it to say that they’re very high in good (unsaturated) fat, and their rich oils help your body absorb other nutrients.
One thing I absolutely did not know was that avocados can be refrigerated. I'd always treated them like tomatoes, which I was told never, ever, EVER to refrigerate, but with avocados, you can actually halt the ripening process simply by tucking them in the fridge. When ready to ripen, place them on the counter at room temp, or, to hasten the process, place them in a paper bag.
While in Mexico City (which I wrote about here, here, and here), we learned some classic Mexican recipes, like how to make a cold and silky avocado soup with serrano chiles, stock, cilantro, and cream. And how to garnish an octopus taco with diced avocado and chipotle mayonnaise, in case you've got some octopus lying around. And how to serve guacamole with homemade sopes and escamoles (ant eggs). (Feeling less adventurous? Make this salad.)
We even tasted a lesser-known avocado variety called the criollo, a petite fruit whose skin is so thin you can bite into it just like an apple. Our meal at Pujol included a dish of criollo with sea bass, manzana chile, coconut water, and spearmint. (Take that, Taco Bell.)
Finally, this is my last Mexico City post. Thanks for accompanying me on this journey. Feel free to share final thoughts on Mexico, favorite avocado recipes, or expressions of effusive adoration.