There is this standing joke in my family regarding my husband and food. He’s 100% Irish; meat and potatoes to a T. By this point, I’ve got him eating white fish and some sushi, and the argument into the world of beets still remains. But there is this thing that he does with new foods, which to this day is still a source of entertainment for my family and me.
A few years ago, after my Grandpa’s funeral, my whole Mom’s side of the family was settled in at my Aunt Regina and Uncle Tom’s house for the needed, and frankly expected, decompress after a highly emotional weekend. The TV was on some agreed upon sitcom, gin and tonics were flowing and standing at the ready, and my Uncle Bob (a self-proclaimed master griller) was making dinner. Maybe it was more like constructing dinner with full scaffolds, or staving-artist-inspired composing dinner – time ticked on, on, and on, and the fam was growing increasingly hungry.
Our sitting around chit-chatting started to incline (or decline, depending on your personal half-glass) towards being plain boisterous. So my cousin, Kelly, who has the joyously natural instinct to make sure everyone is happy at all times, ran to the kitchen. Minutes later, she returned with a big bowl of her homemade guacamole and chips. While she would have been fine without any recognition, the cheers she received did not go unnoticed, and everyone dove in. Including Rob.
“Wow, Kel! This is awesome!” My mom, being a lover of all things avocado, exclaimed. The oohs and aahs surrounding Kelly’s guac circled the room.
“Ah, thanks Aunt Susie!” Kelly’s Long Island inflection clearly came through. “I made it myself!”
Rob looked at me, “This is great!” His eyes only got that big when ogling at helicopters.
“Kelly, how did you make this?” I inquired – seriously, it was the best guac I’ve ever had. Still is.
Kelly revealed her secret recipe, of which I’ve been making ever since. But there was another secret in the room – Rob. There’s my at-the-time boyfriend, diving into the bowl of creamy green goodness, devouring it. He licked his chops. He licked his fingers. He would have licked the bowl if he weren’t trying to impress my extended family.
Years later, through our courtship and engagement, and like most couples do, we had a date spot. Every Friday we were together, we would go to Javier’s and have our fill of beyond-good Mexican food and margaritas, including guacamole. At one point, as Rob was eating the guacamole like he had enjoyed it in the womb (this is actually true for me – Mom kept me fed well with Chimicangas and guac en utero), he proceeded to casually reveal to my mom and me how his first time even seeing guacamole was that night in Long Island waiting for my Uncle’s dinner.
Looking at my mom’s crinkled brow, raised eyebrows, open mouth, and cartoonish question mark over her head, I could only imagine what my face revealed. WHAT?! If he had said that mid-marg-sip, the spray would have been good enough for primetime TV. We are not talking about foie gras here. First of all, who in this nation that lives remotely close to a Taco Bell does not know about guacamole before they are 26, and second, WHAT?! For years he’d been eating the stuff like rest of us. We never would have guessed his christened-to-the-avocado moment was Kelly’s guac. Frankly, we would have celebrated it more.
While funny by itself, Rob’s ability to fool us into his oh-I’ve-been-enjoying-this-food-all-my-life is not limited to the avocado. Pigs in a blanket have also been revealed, as well as one of my favorite (and most cooked) foods, poached eggs. But as summertime is right around the corner, and keeping true to Rob’s newly indoctrinated family tradition, we shall have guacamole. Just like the “old” times.
Kelly’s Guac (make as much as you want, but the following is good for 2-4 people)
- 3 ripe (soft, but not squidgy) Hass avocados
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/8 tsp (or a sprinkling to-taste) garlic salt
- 3-5 dashes Tabasco sause.
Scoop out the inner green flesh of the avocados into a medium bowl. Juice in the lime (prick with a fork before squeezing, if necessary), add the garlic salt, and the Tabasco sauce. Note: Tabasco sauce has a high vinegar content, so start with a few dashes and add more to taste.
Mash, mix, and stir together with a fork – I purposefully and specifically use a fork here because it gives a creamy, yet slightly chunky texture.
Dip your favorite chip, and ENJOY (for the first time, or the hundredth!)