I don’t think I’ve said this yet, but if you don’t know, I’m a fourth generation Mexican-American on both sides. Shhhh, don’t tell my sister. She’ll start talking about the fact that we are a sixteenth German on my dad’s side and some sort of non-hispanic on my mom’s side.
In my experience, though, people don’t generally want to know every single possible ethnicity I embody when they ask me what I am. So, for ease of conversation (and because it’s almost 100% true), I say I’m a Mexican-American and leave it at that.
But even that is misleading. When my friends read this they’ll probably start laughing and say (maybe even out loud), “Ha! You, a Mexican? Yeah right!”
You see, I’m what we Americans affectionately call an “Oreo”: dark on the outside, light on the inside. Neither is better or worse than the other, neither is preferable to the other, and neither work against the other concerning my ontologically composition.
But the record does need to reflect that since I can’t handle spicy food, don’t speak Spanish, wouldn’t know the first thing about thriving in Mexico, and have little to no understanding of authentic Mexican culture, I am, in fact, more American than Mexican. So I guess you could say I’m an American-Mexican, not the other way around.
But not everything about being Mexican is lost on me. Some of my favorite things about myself are the things that are very “Mexican”: loyalty to family and friends, a die-hard work ethic, a love of being hospitable, using terms of endearment instead of formal designations whenever possible, talking – a lot, having a hug and/or kiss accompany salutations (especially around family. How long does it take YOU to say hello and goodbye to la familia? You have to add at least 25 minutes to the start and end of a party for just saying “hi” and “bye” to everyone if you’re going to be a member of MY family).
Oh, and one more thing: I love Mexican comfort food. Well, it’s Americanized Mexican comfort food, really. But the food my momma taught me how to make is legit, believe me.
And what is one thing you HAVE to have if you are going to make and eat Mexican food?
So here is a family recipe for easy guacamole that my momma taught me, that her momma taught her, and so on and so forth. It’s the best and only kind of guac I eat, but, no, it doesn’t include lemon juice, tomatoes, cilantro, onion, or Tapatio. Think of it as the base for the guacamoles with which you are most familiar. But don’t stick your nose up at it. It’s the easiest, yummiest guac you’ll ever make!
What You’ll Need
Avocados (I used three, medium-sized avocados)
A mixing bowl (large enough to mash freely without spilling guac all over the place)
A trash cup or bowl
Salt and pepper (optional, but highly recommended)
Every good guac starts with perfectly ripe avocados. They should be tender to the touch, dark green on the outside, and light green on the inside. And I think I’d better just go ahead and say that Haas avocados are really the only kind worth using. So creamy. So meaty. So perfect!
Cut your avocados in half, carefully running your knife around the pit. Then, cut off the tippiest top of the avocado, on a diagonal, to remove the brown portion where the nib used to be.
Next, remove the pit by holding the avocado cut-side up in one hand and (very carefully) thrusting your knife’s broad side into the center of the pit with the other. The knife will get stuck in the pit, and when you twist and pull back, the pit will come lose just like that. You may need to whack at the pit a couple of times to get the knife in the right spot (try for the center of the pit), but, whatever you do, never, EVER stab at the pit with the tip of the knife. The pit is incredibly slippery and your knife will glide right past the pit, through the flesh of the avocado, and right into your hand. If you don’t want to end up in the ER over making guac, DON’T stab the pit with the tip of your knife!
A note on ripeness: You know your avocado is not ripe enough if:
1) It resists your knife when you cut it in half.
2) The pit cannot easily be removed.
Under ripe avocados make for terrible guac. They don’t mash easily and don’t taste very good at all. If you’ve already cut an under ripe avocado in half, put the pieces back together, put it in a plastic bag, put it in the refrigerator, and check in a few days. When it’s softened up, it’s ready to use!
Once you’ve removed the pit, gently cut into the flesh of the avocado lengthwise and widthwise in a grid-like pattern. Again, don’t cut too fast or too deep. The knife will go right through the flesh and skin of the avocado and slice your hand open (no bueno!).
Next, take a spoon and run it along the skin of the avocado. This will release the flesh of the avocado, which you can drop right into your mixing bowl.
Note: Keeping a trash cup or bowl handy makes clean-up easy and ensures your counter top stays avocado free.
Once the flesh from all of your avocados is in your mixing bowl, mash it all up with a fork until creamy. It should go from this:
In all honesty, you could eat it just like this. But it’s not as yummy as it could be, which is why you want to add some Best Foods, full fat mayonnaise. The mayo helps increase the creaminess of the guac, lightens its overall color, and deepens its flavor immensely. And I’m sorry to say it, but Miracle Whip or some reduced fat version of Best Foods mayo simply will not do. Not if you want to eat the best guac of your life!
Once all of your ingredients are in the bowl, mix away, making sure the mayo, salt, and pepper get fully incorporated into the avocado mash.
I always do a final taste test to make sure I’ve used enough salt and pepper. Don’t be shy, if it needs more salt, add more salt. Otherwise, that’s it!
Whip up some homemade tacos or taquitos and be ready to have all of your friends asking who made the yummiest, creamiest guacamole they’ve ever tasted!
Until next time, my friends!
S. Taylor, The Taylor of All Trades