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No Drama Avocada

June 14, 2017

Woo hoo! The heat has broken. But no worries, I still have a bunch of “damn it’s hot outside” stories to share with you from the past few days. And one of them has some ties with something that’s been burning up the twitter.

Avocado hand.

It’s apparently a thing. A bad thing. People are accidentally stabbing themselves as they try to remove the pits from and slice their avocados. It’s also not just a millennial thing. Old people are having avocado related injuries too.

As far as I’m concerned, avocado toast is delicious. I’ve been eating it through the heat wave. However, I’ve also been eating it all year long. Avocados are just one of the many things that keep me from living a locavore diet. Remember when that was the big thing?

Maybe part of the problem is just how many terrible instruction videos there are for teaching people how to prepare their avocados. Let’s take a quick look.

What happened to Epicurious? Its avocado prep video below is terrible. For starters it looks like the knife is dull. Then it seems like they are using an underripe avocado. Then there is an obvious struggle to take the fruit out with a spoon, which results in mangled flesh. To add insult to injury the voiceover chimes in, “doesn’t this avocado look tasty?” Well, no. Not really.

The production values from The Kitchn are better, relying mostly on visuals without the annoying voice over. The music is a little loud and has a surprising amount of horns. But I’m still nonplussed by the idea of picking up half an avocado and slicing it in your hand. I mean, I could do that without incident, but it seems like a bad technique to teach, especially if people have been stabbing themselves in the hand.

Kraft’s instructional above has some folksier music, and I really really appreciate that the video encourages the washing of the fruit first. But it drives me batshit crazy that someone would go through all of that extra knife work to cube an avocado if it’s going to be mashed in the end.

Above, Stupid Easy Paleo makes me a little nervous when she whacks her knife into the pit. But Steph was the first video I found where the avocado wasn’t scooped from its skin with a spoon. What a needless step. The skin peels right off. Granted, doing it in halves is a little bit harder than how I do it.

The FLB approved technique is demonstrated by CandidMommy below. Her video may suffer from production related quality issues, which include but are not limited to the child in the background. But as far as avocado smarts go, she’s the real deal. Perhaps, because as she admits in the video, she learned the hard way by stabbing herself in the past.

Here’s what you do.
1) Start with a sharp knife and a cutting board
2) You’ll need a ripe avocado that you’ve washed
3) Slice around the pit lengthwise, and twist
4) Press a sharp knife into the pit, and twist
5) On a cutting board, slice the avocado halves lengthwise into quarters
6) Get your thumb under the edge, and peel off the skin

At that point, you’ve got some very soft avocado quarters already on a cutting board. Dicing them is easy, if you want to do that. Cutting them into thinner slivers is easy. Or you can just take them and mash ‘em up on toast.

I understand that people don’t have good knife skills. I understand that people have tragically dull knives. So I totally understand why, when a food fad like avocado toast drives people into the kitchen to pick up a potentially dangerous tool, there are injuries.

What I don’t understand is all the blow back towards avocado toast and its proponents. Maybe the issue isn’t the avocado toast. Maybe it’s that kids these days are paying too much for avocado toast?

I mean it’s filling, it’s part of a healthful diet, it’s comforting, it’s vegan, it’s delicious, it’s simple, it’s satisfying, it’s beautiful, and it’s quick. Plus the thing is assembled from whole foods. When making it at home, which is easy to do, it’s also relatively inexpensive. Even if you use fancy bread and drizzle it with very fancy olive oil and hand harvested salt flakes.

Part of me feels that the resistance to avocado toast has to do with a discomfort with people pushing towards a more meat-free existence. Something along the lines of, “When I used to go to coffee shops, toast came with bacon, lettuce, and tomato on top.” Or, you know tuna salad. Maybe roast turkey. “Now look at what the kids are doing. Where’s the meat?”

But so much of what passes for deli meat these days is just gross. The tuna is now all full of mercury and pcbs. And the tomatoes that are sold at most grocery stores and provided in most sandwich shops, are joyless orbs engineered to be just red enough, without providing any of the experiences of tomatoes past.

Avocado toast makes a lot of sense in the modern food climate. Except for maybe the carbon footprint required to transport the crop around the world. But the same is true with coffee. I’d rather live in a smaller house, take fewer plane trips, and keep the heat lower in the winter, than give up coffee, chocolate, and avocados. It’s all about tradeoffs and trying to find a balance that you can live with.

I know where I stand. Apparently, that is right next to the millennials.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2017 10:17 am

    I always feel like the dangerous part is getting the pit, once removed, off the knife. Any suggestions there???????

    • June 14, 2017 11:30 am

      You should really be wearing a metal glove, like those used in delis to avoid injuries when using the slicer. Cradle the pit in the hand with the glove. Then, using a pair of Vice Grips®, grasp the handle of the knife with the other hand and pull hard. If this fails, take the pit into your back yard and bury it, knife and all. The knife will keep the bunnies away and in a few months you’ll have a lovely avocado tree.

    • June 14, 2017 11:35 pm

      I bang the sturdy handle of my knife on the edge of the kitchen sink. Thanks to inertia, the blade stops but the pit keeps on moving.

  2. June 14, 2017 11:07 am

    This whole whacking-the-pit with a knife perpendicular to the cut avocado “face” has gotten out of hand and is completely unnecessary. I typically hold the avocado half on the cutting board with the cut face perpendicular to the board, and bring the (sharp!) knife against and parallel to the avocado, into contact with the pit with just enough bite to leverage the pit out. The pit might slip and go scuttling, but you won’t cut your hand and you won’t wedge the knife into the pit. But, you don’t even need to use the knife to get the pit out. You can either slightly squeeze the avocado half with the pit so that the pit loosens and pops out, or quarter the avocado and simply pull the pit out with your hand.

  3. EPT permalink
    June 14, 2017 1:34 pm

    Frankly, I was surprised by the poor advice given in these videos. Cutting the avocado in your hand is a no no, unless you’re into wearing band aids. A cutting board should be used for this task. Talk about knife skills, none there. As an aside, those avocados looked a bit less than ripe which would make the whole cutting thing easier but the end result is poor texture and taste.

  4. enough already! permalink
    June 15, 2017 1:20 am

    Not necessary to knife the pit! Quarter the avocado and pull the pit out, or use a spoon to flip it out. Jeez Louise.

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