Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Living in California, Cinco de Mayo is considered a pretty big deal. Before I moved here, to be honest, I'd never heard of it. But as our population becomes more and more integrated with our amigos from across the border, we embrace more of those customs and cultures...a good thing, in my opinion. Especially when some of those cultures we embrace is Mexican food. What better way to celebrate this popular day than to dive into some fresh guacamole. To that I say:


(the following is a reprint of my 9/19/08 post, "Viva Avocado!")

As much as I love eating avocados today, it's hard to imagine that I didn't taste my first one until I was well into my twenties. I grew up in a small town in a small New England state. Our foods of choice leaned more toward clam cakes and chowder than tacos and enchiladas. Avocado? I hadn't a clue what one was.
And don't even get me going about guacomole. Guaca...huh?

I understand that the avocado existed when I was growing up Back East, and they may even have been available at the local grocery store where my mother shopped. But mom never purchased one, never brought one of those green-skinned babies home. Believe it or not, I did not know WHAT an avocado WAS until I relocated to sunny California in the mid-80's. And even then, I wasn't sure what to do with one or how to eat it.

Today, avocados seem more popular and prevalent in everyday cuisine. In most restaurants you can find them chopped atop salads, sliced in between sandwiches, and, in its most popular form, as guacamole, that amazing green nacho-chip-dipping-taste-sensation.

While your mouth is watering, consider these interesting facts about the avocado:

* a member of the berry family, avocado is a fruit, not vegetable
* the Aztecs named it after the word, ahuacatl, which meant "testicle," because of its shape
* they have been around since 900 A.D.
* they have been grown in North America since 1856
* also known as the alligator pear, Jamaicans call them pears

(for more fascinating information about the avocado, visit this site)

Most of you by now have tasted avocados, but if you still are like I was, back in the day, you should give them a try. You don't know what you are missing. But do you know the best way to cut one open? Here's a video that will help:

Hey, next time you have that chip loaded with guac, happily remind yourself that besides enjoying a delicious snack, you are also getting:

* 10 grams of dietary fiber
* more potassium than one banana
* vitamins E and B
* 10 grams of the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)


While very healthy for you, avocados are also high in calories and fats. The good news: these are the good fats--monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These are heart-healthy fats and help lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

The bad news, for those counting calories or watching their weight, is that an average size avocado has around 300 calories--so tread carefully. I know that I can eat one all by myself, diced, with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Try it! In moderation.

It's hard to imagine that I spent half my life deprived of the succulent taste of avocado. Maybe that's why I've spent the last twenty-five years eating more than my share, trying to make up for lost time.

You should too!

Always remember that you can watch hundreds of self-help videos about health and nutrition, and any number of other topics, at livelife365.com.

Until next time...




Yira said...

I LOVE Avocado. Guacamole is good but growing up in the Dominican Republic we ate avocado like any other fruit, sliced, peeled on a salad, with my rice and beans, by itself. We had an avocado tree back home that grew these things bigger than my hand, you could feed an entire family. They are some delicious and nutritious, in moderation of course. Thanks for sharing.

fedhz said...

I love avocados too, specially shakes or ice candy. ^^

btw, Mike, is your contest still ongoing? I have posted it on my blog. ^^

LisaNewton said...

I've never been a big fan of avocados, however, last week a friend of mine made an avocado dish I loved. It could have been because I didn't really taste too much avocado.

A nice spicy mixture of cooked chicken, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, avocado, tomato, and a hint of lime. Oh, so good.

redkathy said...

Hey Mike, I'm a big avocado fan. calories are no problem for me and like you, I eat a whole one in one sitting with a bit of salt and sometimes a drop or two of lime juice.

Mike Foster said...

yira: sounds like you could live on those avocados...wow

fedhz: have to try an avocado shake...will let you know soon about the contest...thanks...

lisa: not that much avocado...no wonder you liked it...

redkathy: i think i almost ate that entire one while making the video...



kRiZ cPEc said...

thanks for your tips, Mike. I did a quick search and found this recipe: http://www.avocado.org/recipes/list/view/?California/Avocado/Burger&recipe_id=111
Just in case you want some meat. :wink:

Anonymous said...

A few years ago I was employed as the manager of a Texmex restaurant in Norwich,an English cultural backwater where the inhabitants are only just coming to terms with the fact that food doesn't have to be boiled for three hours. Every year we would have a Mexican themed day in honour of Cinco de Mayo, the looks on diners faces when confronted with gaucamole was hilarious, more than half would'nt even try it.Sad.

Anonymous said...

I also used to employ a prep chef in Leicester Square who's only responsibility was guac production, big Sudaneese guy, guacamole master. He used to make about ten gallons every day! He even had an assistant who had to make the pico de gallo !

Sudeep said...

Yes you are so true they are good , but they are so full of calories too .. make them hard to eat when you are in control of your diet .
Thanks for that information

Mike Foster said...

kriz: sure, always looking for great meat recipes...haha...

andy: that's sad, but believable. some folks don't know what they're missing, and i'd love to meet the guac master!

sudeep: ya got that right, gotta watch the calories with avocados, even if they are loaded with good healthy stuff


Anonymous said...

your post about avo's led me to to post this; http://andymoreton.blogspot.com/2009/05/guacman-and-kitchen-olympics.html