Avocado Chronicles: 7 “eatable only as a salad”

A brief note about guacamole and its referent, thanks to this ADS-L posting on 7/26  by Bill Mullins:

OED has 1920 for guacamole. Barry Popik has 1894. [see below]

Bill takes this back a few years:

Springfield [VT] Reporter 25 Sep 1891 p 2 col 3.

“The famous aguacate, known here as the alligator pear, is really no fruit, but a vegetable, eatable only as a salad “guacamole,” and of the daintiest. . .  New Orleans Picayune”

My interest here is not in the antedating, but in the characterization that the avocado is “eatable only as a salad”, guacamole.

[Added 7/30: on ADS-L on 7/29, Mullins reports a slight antedating for the New Orleans Picayune cite: New Orleans LA  Daily Picayune 9 Aug 1891, p 13 col 4.]

(hat tip to Garson O’Toole)

The 1894 quote from Popik’s blog, from Texan Ranch Life by Mary Jaques (London: Horace Cox ), 1894 ; 1989 reprint by Texas A & M Univ. Press, p. 286:

The portales of the fruit market were very fine and we enjoyed the prickly pears — when they had been peeled for us. One evening in the dusk we bought some chirimollas and aguacate, mistaking the latter for figs. They were anything but pleasant, but after being dressed according to Mr. Barrow’s orders, made a nice dish known as “huacamole.” The figs and bananas at the hotel were delicious.

Apparently most Yankees had not yet developed a taste for avocados on the hoof, but guacamole was welcomed when it was introduced.

NOAD on the noun guacamole:

a dish of mashed avocado mixed with chopped onion, tomatoes, chili peppers, and seasoning [which typically includes sea salt, lime juice, and cilantro]. ORIGIN Latin American Spanish, from Nahuatl ahuacamolli, from ahuacatl ‘avocado’ + molli ‘sauce’. [AMZ culinary notes: some acid ingredient — citrus juice, tomatoes, or yoghurt, separately or in combination — is crucial; no oil needed, since avocados are naturally very oily]

The dish is sometimes described as a salad, but its standard use these days is as a dipspread. In my 10/13/13 posting “More dipspreads”, see the section on guacamole. Here it is in that function:


And, more eccentrically, as a sushi filling:

(#2) Guacamole sushi

And finally, in its most minimal form, proto-guac so to speak, as mashed avocado in avocado toast:


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