I remember my first avocado very clearly. At my college you were assigned a tutor who was responsible for your moral and emotional welfare. This included, and was pretty much limited to, inviting you round to his house for dinner with him and his wife, once in the entire three years.
And we had an avocado salad starter. At least I was pretty sure it was. I’d heard of avocados, might even have seen a picture of one, but I’d certainly never tasted one. Obviously I didn’t want to humiliate myself by asking what I was eating, and in retrospect I do know that it was avocado. It tasted good, even if it wasn’t quite the exotic sensation I’d been expecting.
These days I don’t eat avocados as much as I used to – and I’ve never eaten one on toast - but right now I’m in the middle of reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar – published in 1963 but set in New York in 1953, a time when I’d have thought that very, very few people in Britain were eating avocados. Of course everybody else already knows how great The Bell Jaris, but I was especially taken by a scene in which the heroine goes to a fancy lunch and has an avocado filled with crab meat. Something like this, I imagine (thanks LoveofCooking):
I was reading the book in bed last night and it sounded so good that I thought, first thing tomorrow I’ll be off down the shops buying an avocado and some crab meat (the latter in a can, no doubt).
But then I read on and it turns out that the crab gives ptomaine poisoning to everybody at the lunch. Plath is also great at describing the strangely mixed pleasures of throwing up.
To be honest this did blunt my appetite a bit as I fell alseep, but by the afternoon of the next day I was feeling strong enough to go down to the Co-op and buy an avocado or two. I arrived there - and they didn’t have any. Is it possible that the avocado in England has become SEASONAL?