Saturday 17 December 2011

avocados: the charlie sheen of fruits

It is the year 2011. Humanity has achieved dominion over vast swathes of the planet, bending nature to its will in the name of progress and industry. On land, only two major pockets of resistance remain. They are the zebra, and the avocado. Today, we examine the latter.

As delicious as they are unpredictable, avocados have (as of this writing) proven unable to tame, and remain the most petulant fruit known to humankind.

They were invented in 1925 by Rudolf Hess, a salesman-turned-agriculturist who nowadays is best remembered for his part in an early attempt to set up the European Union. Always a master of trickery, Hess often used his agricultural roots as a political tool, infamously introducing his fruit to Britain in the 1960s as the "avocado pear", causing thousands of unsuspecting Britons to attempt to bake and serve the avocado with custard and cream in the manner of a regular apple or pear. The ripples of malnutrition and confusion set the post-war British economy back thirty years.
As the fruit's original 1920s name of "mexican mangos" did not catch on, Hess chose the name "avocado" after the Aztec word ahu├ícatl, meaning "testicle", a name which was no doubt chosen because avocados are an extremely testy creation. More people are sent to emergency rooms by avocados than by any other fruit, and the stone of the avocado is lethal to a range of animals—both when eaten, and when fired at high velocity.

Like Charlie Sheen, the avocado is impossible to predict. With the former, you may get a modern-day classic, or you may get drivel. Avocados are no different. You might pick the nicest avocados available at the store, gently carry them home, allow the magic of ripening to take its course, press gently on the fruit to test if it's ready, slice them open with a sharp knife, and (assuming you avoid grievous bodily harm) recoil in shock and horror at either (a) the sight of a brown, mushy mess or (b) a still-perfectly-hard and decidedly unripe avocado. Only rarely will you get (c), fruity bliss.
There are, however, a few positives. Unlike apples, the most racist of fruits, Avocados generally mix very well with others; indeed, some say almost a little too well. There is nothing more an avocado loves than to snuggle up to a banana inside a brown paper bag. It will get ripe and excited in no time. But there's no need to fret if your avocados emerge from the sack a little too excited—like a hyperactive goldfish, nothing calms an avocado down like a short stint in the fridge.

When all is considered, I believe men and avocados can co-exist. Abraham Lincoln once said:
“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”
Join me, then, in the most noble of causes! Beat not the avocado into domestic submission! Instead, return the most stoic and resilient of fruits to its natural habitat: atop toast.

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