I’m already certain that this post will have very little to do with guacamole per se. Quite likely, you’ve already had it at one point or another, and it’s one of the easiest of all things in the world to make, though maybe you never have, thinking the making of it involved a food processor or some freakishly large mortar and pestle.
It all depends, of course, on the avocado being perfectly ripe, so that you can easily and successfully mash it with a whisk, along with some lime juice and fresh garlic grated over a micro plane, and some minced cilantro to brighten it up.
I use a microplane for garlic when I need it to be in its most aggressive form. The more you work garlic, the stronger and hotter it becomes. I never add cayenne, as garlic adds the perfect tongue bite. Garlic also enhances the flavor, and unlike most peppers used for heat, it doesn’t become the only flavor you notice after a few bites. Guacamole should always be about the creamy and subtle flavor of the avocado first. Lime second – the acid carries the note of the avocado, while the garlic and cilantro just round out the edges – a little heat and depth that lingers and a little bit of bright, crisp, floral…
Of course guacamole is best made to order, and served immediately with a warm basket of chips, while watching a football game. It never lasts though, even with the acid of the lime juice it will oxidize – a testament to the fragility of the avocado once it’s coaxed from its beautiful, rugged skin.
It leads me to the nature and controversy of (American) football these days, and all of the mounting stories of chronic brain injuries, and all the things being proposed to fix it, make it a safer sport. It is a noble venture – The brain is likely the most fragile organ, and likely the most important after the heart. Much like a bruised avocado – once it begins getting banged around, it’s sort of hopeless and sad.
I played football in my youth, about 6 years – from seventh grade up until my senior year of high school. I had one recruitment letter (and a free trip!) from (and to) a college with the invitation to play football there (not with a scholarship attached so I declined). Looking back, there was little about playing it that held any real appeal to me – much like wrestling – I knew early on I did not like hitting or purposely hurting other people. I did not like being hit. But somehow that is masculine in this culture.
And it is nice to come across as masculine, I suppose, when you’re interested in girls. Mostly, it was a convenient way to occupy my time with something constructive instead of other mischief I could have easily occupied myself with.
In recent years I’ve found myself marveling about a dichotomy of humanity in general – how some people resort to aggressive means of interaction (either violence, or just intimidation), while others resort to a more passive means (listening, observing, solving, understanding). I’m definitely of the latter sort. Or maybe a third sort altogether. I tend to be puzzled that sometimes the truth, or just things as they are aren’t just looked as what they are. Things never truly stand alone; always in a context, but sometimes, just observing and looking at it – letting it gestate – is OK. Not everything requires an immediate reflex reaction to be the sole defining factor in the value or efficacy of it.
Because I’ve grown up in a post Darwinian world, I look at this in terms of evolution and primate behavior. I think there are really two types of people in this world; the sort who evolved from apes that flung feces at each other to solve problems, and the sort who evolved from the ones who made tools. I never doubt I’m from the latter set, just as I don’t doubt that I have met many from the former set.
Not that this really applies to football, but the idea of colliding with someone is grossly barbaric to me. And yet here is this unique sport which has ‘evolved’ into better helmets and pads which allow just that – better collisions!. It’s like wrapping F1 cars and Monster trucks in some nifty padding and playing bumper cars at full speed and torque.
As a tool making, problem solving monkey, I know exactly how to make football safer by a large magnitude, with no rule changes at all, overnight. Eliminate the pads. Eliminate the helmet – or go back to something like the old leather helmets they used to wear. Make contact something that isn’t buffered – but self regulated by the natural means of avoiding pain. The equipment in place today protects people too much from surface pain, and allows an ever increasing deeper set of injuries to occur. It’s that simple. Remove that equipment and concussions, lacerated organs, detached aortas will become a thing of the past.
I know this will never ever happen – because the spectacle of a high speed collision is too enticing for too many people. And too many people make too much money from providing that sort of entertainment. If anything, it will keep accelerating, augmented with another layer of padding…