August 10 ~  A Kind of Temple It's a Long Way to Guacamole

"My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future." ~ Pearl Bailey

holy guacamole! One of the dishes I like to prepare in my own magical kitchen is fresh guacamole. My mouth waters at the thought of it:

Mix an avocado with a little lime juice, minced scallions and garlic, a dash of Tabasco sauce, chili powder, salt... Voila!

The avocado has been around a long time. Archaeologists found an avocado-shaped jar, dated around 900 A. D. In Mexico, the avocado was a favorite of a 10th century Mayan princess. The Aztecs used it as an aphrodisiac. "There is no aphrodisiac like innocence," said philosopher Jean Baudrillard. Unless you're serving avocado.

The buttery fruit was first introduced in Hawaii in the early 1800s by Don Marin, Kamehameha the Great's horticulturist. Today, avocado trees are planted among coffee and macadamia in Kona and harvested with hand-held poles and baskets. Throughout my childhood, my grandfather's tree in Kaimuki provided shade and delicious fruit.

Brazilians add the smooth, rich avocados to ice cream and Koreans mix them with milk for body massages. In Europe, avocados are an appetizer served with mayonnaise or salad dressing. Some even eat them in their sushi rolls.

Do you need to ripen one quickly? Seal the avocado in a brown paper bag, and keep it in a warm but not too hot place. Have you already cut one open and it's not ripe? Just coat the surfaces with butter or mayonnaise and stick it in the bag.

Avocados are cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and contain 1.6 times as much potassium as bananas, vitamin C, vitamin E, B6, and folate. An important source of vitamin A, avocado helps reactivate skin's radiance AND contains monounsaturated-fat, or the "good fat" which studies have shown reduce serum cholesterol levels.

Martial arts wizard Bruce Lee once wisely recommended, "Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own." Let's add some avocado salsa to that meal...

Get the salsa, chips... and holy guacamole!