The avocado lesson

I've become an addict now, waiting for July and August, for avocados

To begin with I did not know what they were. Neither guava nor pear, yet in appearance a close cousin to them. Of a special bright green. They were attractive enough, though not as tempting as the red-cheeked apples or the golden–hued mangoes on the shelves.

Only the initiate knew them and grabbed them in kilo at the green-grocer’s.  Rich in omega three, good for diabetics, murmured my doctor friend, standing next to me, asking for four kilos of the so-called butter fruit. They are also called avocados, she added. Good for all kinds of ailments, she pointed out. Try them, she said.

When I asked her how one ate them, she was very specific. Wait for the hard fruit to ripen and turn soft, its skin loosening up. Then split the fruit into half with your fingers, like this. Hold the two halves in your two hands and wonder at the huge ball of a seed inside which has to be thrown aside.

Now scoop out the soft buttery flesh with a dessert spoon and eat it as it is. Plain. Or if you prefer add some sugar to it. Or another option sprinkle salt and pepper, oh, heavenly. She continued, some prepare a dip out of it with garlic and mayonnaise and then there are those who turn it into a smoothie.

By now a gaggle of women had gathered round my friend, taking a lesson in ten best ways of consuming avocados. However they remained sceptical as they wistfully handled the fruit wishing they were guavas or green apples.

I asked the grocer for half a kilo, determined to try out the wonder fruit for the first time.
Buy two kilos at least, my friend advised me, heaving her bag off the counter with both her hands. After all they are available only during the rainy months of July and August and after that you can’t have them for love or for money.

Rich in omega three, she reminded me, with a nod of her head as she walked away. By some weird coincidence the very next day my cousin Radha, sent me a load of the green fruit from her backyard.

She said she had no idea that such a tree existed in her backyard all these years until a wizard of a gardener had appeared the other day saying he would buy the whole lot of them and give her a basket of the fruit, gratis, into the bargain. That’s how I had become a recipient of her generosity.

Well, the only alternative to dumping the greenies was to generously distribute them to my neighbours in my apartment building. Within minutes, I was bombarded with questions—oh, are they guavas? My immediate neighbour wanted to know if she could cook the cubed green things in sambhar, or surely it would make a delicious green chutney?

Now it was my turn to give the avocado lesson. I repeated in response to all the calls  whatever my doctor friend had taught me, adding my one-liner mantra, well, eat them plain; that’s the best way.

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