The need to be different and unique; I went through it too. That was before the time I realised I am different and unique, as are we all. No wait, come back…I wasn’t beginning to preach. This point will become a character sketch, you’ll see.
Anyway getting back to the need to be different; I believe it first truly struck me when I was five and in first grade. The teacher called upon us to each name our favourite fruit, as a prelude to the five sentences we would write about it. Right away, the aspiring teachers’ pet (moi) decided she was going to dazzle the class and the teacher with my sensational choice. As I listened to the litany of ‘mango (the easy highest favourite) apple, orange, banana, grapes……’ , I mentally whizzed through the fruits I liked and decided to go with watermelon which no one had mentioned. (Not very surprising; in India we are spoiled by an abundance of fruit, kids would largely think of melons last.) I had already started composing the write-up in my head, probably along the lines of ‘Watermelon is red. Watermelon is sweet. Watermelon is juicy’ (hey I said I was 5!) when the unthinkable happened. A friend stood up and said ‘Watermelon’. Black thoughts, probably along the lines of what Caesar must have thought of Brutus, passed through my head. But reeling from this unexpected blow, I rallied and thought of another fruit; the pineapple. That would show ‘em you can’t keep me down. At this point I’d probably eaten the thing once (who knows? I don’t have perfect recall), knew it was pretty good. Yup by the time the teacher got to the S’s, no one mentioned pineapple and I had my very own, only vote, favourite fruit. Was I cool or what? (*choke* sorry I can’t believe what a chump I was once.)
Life is not without its little ironies. While I didn’t know it then, pineapple is one of the very few things I grew up to be quite allergic to. Pineapple in its raw form can give me a sore throat a hypochondriac would be proud to acquire. Sad really, I do love the fruit, but I can’t eat it. Stuff like that cured me of any claims on being unique pretty soon.
One of my favourite culinary ingredient discoveries in United States was another fruit, the avocado. This fruit is nothing short of spectacular, lending itself easily to sweet and savoury preparations. I love it especially because it reminds me of coconuts, something that was abundant in Bombay but not so much here. There are similarities in that they both have fat content, though I believe avocado oil is good for you while coconut in large amounts, not so much. But one bite of the guacamole, what avocados are commonly used for had me ecstatically thinking of coconut chutney. So here is a good recipe for guacamole. Not a unique use of the versatile fruit, but I’ve learned that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing 🙂
Haas Avocados – 2, cut & the green flesh scooped out
Shallots – 2, finely chopped
Green Chillies – 2 to 3, finely chopped
Garlic – 4 cloves, minced
Lime juice – 1/2 of fruit
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro – a good handful, chopped
Salt to taste
– Mash the avocados with onions and mix in the garlic.
– Add the lime juice and salt. Then add in cilantro, reserving it for the garnish, and mix in thoroughly.
– Add chillies & cumin powder and mix to incorporate. Top with the cilantro garnish.
Serve with your favourite tortilla chips. (though I’ll happily smear this on the first available cracker, piece of toast, anything to eat it).
Mmmm……summer is just around the corner!