Guacamole with crispy bacon and shredded
cheddar. Here’s the recipe. Photo and recipe
courtesy Sabrina Modelle | The Tomato Tart
via California Avocado Commission.
National Guacamole Day is September 16th, and we wondered: If there are salad bars and frozen yogurt bars, cereal bars, baked potato bars and chili bars*, why not a guacamole bar? Who doesn’t love the opportunity to customize their foods?
Individual bowls and an array of ingredients enable each person to start with a base of smashed avocado, and pile on the fixings. They can then be mixed in or eaten as is—a mountain of flavors and textures.
Whether for a general party or drinks, we like to include a crunchy salad base, to make a more substantial dish. We prefer shredded cabbage, a.k.a. coleslaw mix. You end up with “guacamole coleslaw” at the bottom of the dish.
INGREDIENTS FOR A GUACAMOLE PARTY BAR
To encourage creativity, mix some non-traditional items (bacon? mint? pineapple?) with traditional ones.
Avocado: mashed, smashed or diced†
Cheese: crumbled cotija, goat cheese, queso blanco, queso fresco or queso oaxaca; shredded cheddar or jack
Diced veggies: bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, green and/or red onion, jicama, radish, tomatillo, tomato/sundried tomato
Seasonings: cayenne, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and/or minced garlic, hot sauce, lemon and/or lime wedges, paprika, salt/seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce
Heat: chile flakes, minced chipotle and jalapeño‡
Herbs: chives, cilantro, mint, parsley
Salad base: arugula, chicory, escarole, iceberg, radicchio, romaine, shredded cabbage, watercress
Toppings: bacon, corn, crushed pineapple, diced mango, olives, salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt, toasted nuts
Chips and dippers: celery sticks, crostini (toasted or grilled baguette slices), endive leaves, pita chips, tortilla chips, flatbread
Drinks: beer, white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or other crisp, medium-body white wine), white sangria
Set the dishes on a table or buffet in this order: bowls, salad, avocado, veggies, heat, seasonings and toppings; include serving utensils with each option.
At the end of the table, place the forks and spoons for blending and napkins, and dinner plates for the individual bowls and chips. Place large bowls of chips or other dippers on the tables.
*More food bar ideas: Breakfast & Brunch Bar, Lunch & Dinner Bar and Dessert Bar.
†Hass avocados are preferred. While other varieties are larger, the Hass variety is creamier, a desired characteristic for guacamole.
‡To accommodate those who just like a little heat, have two bowls of jalapeño: one minced and served as is, one with the heat-carrying seeds removed before mincing.
THE HISTORY OF GUACAMOLE
Mesoamericans cultivated the avocado, a fruit which had grown in what we now call Central America for millions of years. The conquering Aztecs‡‡ called it ahuacatl; the “tl” is pronounced “tay” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. Guacamole was compounded in a molcajete, a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic stone.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1519 under Hernán Cortés, they heard ah-hwah-cah-tay as “aguacate,” the spelling and pronounciation they adopted.
The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via the Nahuatl “ahuacamOlli,” a compound of ahuacatl [avocado] + mOlli [sauce]. The chocolate-based mole sauce comes from that same word, mOlli.
Ahuacatl means “testicle.” Aztecs saw the avocado as resembling testicles and ate them as a sex stimulant. According to Linda Stradley on the website WhatsCookingInAmerica.com, for centuries after Europeans came into contact with the avocado, it carried its reputation for inducing sexual prowess. It wasn’t purchased or consumed by anyone concerned with his or her reputation.
Custom-blending guacamole is not only fun; you get exactly what you want. Photo courtesy McCormick.
American avocado growers had to sponsor a public relations campaign to dispel the myth before avocados could become popular. After then, their dark green, pebbly flesh also earned avocados the name, “alligator pear.”
‡‡The Aztecs, who probably originated as a nomadic tribe in northern Mexico, arrived in Mesoamerica around the beginning of the 13th century.
Avocados been cultivated for over 10,000 years.
Avocados have more potassium that a banana, plus many other health benefits (here are the 12 health benefits of avocado).
Leaving the pit in to keep it from browning doesn’t really work.
The largest-ever serving of guacamole weighed 2,669.5 kg (5,885.24 lbs), created by the Municipality of Tancítaro Michoacan in Tancítaro, Mexico, on April 4th 2013. But how many tortilla chips were needed?
During festivities for the last Super Bowl, 104.2 million pounds of avocados were consumed nationally, mostly as guacamole.