I am adamantly pro-peas. Here’s why.
The avocado is a thing of almost unimaginable delicacy. There is a fractal dimension to its oils, a dense clustering of flavors—nutlike or citric or smoky—that is greater than simple chemical structure.
Once, on a dazzlingly hot bus trip through the Yucatán, I woke as we heaved to a stop in the city of Valladolid, stalled in traffic. I looked down at an old woman with a blanket on the sidewalk—she was selling a single, perfect-looking avocado the size of a small globe eggplant, framed in shiny avocado leaves. It sounds ridiculous, but I picture that avocado sometimes, imagine slicing into the skin and peeling it back, tasting it hot from the sun. It makes me think I really don’t know shit about avocados.
A couple of months ago I ordered guacamole at a restaurant in Mexico City famous for making it tableside. The woman had a serious expression as she pounded it in a black molcajete, adding a drizzle of olive oil but no lime. It was delicious. Travel, like a good restaurant, can take us out of ourselves, teach us more than we thought we knew. Green-paste guacamole on the cold line at Chipotle may contain mostly avocado, but it does not capture the delicacy of the fruit. It is a condiment, tangy and delicious in its way, but it does not honor the avocado.
Melissa Clark’s recipe in The New York Times pairs avocado with a thing of equal delicacy, the English pea. This may be a bad recipe—it looks like it’s about three ingredients past amazing, but I am willing to swear that peas are not among the extraneous. Wednesday’s collective Oh hell no about peas in guacamole made me think: We really don’t know shit about guacamole.
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