Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Avocados and Idealism

I noticed as I scraped the quarter of an avocado into my smoothie this morning that I was smiling with a guilty pleasure. I’d like to give credit for my blog title to high hopes and a profound interest in local food, but the truth is I just really like alliteration. Even for a non-muttering reader, alliteration smoothly rolls the words of a narrative across the mind, like the drizzles of caramel in a Twix commercial.

But maybe it wasn’t just literary coincidence…I sipped on my creamy green goo and thought back on all that avocados and I have been through together.  I ate them for lunch nearly every day in Mexico. The neighboring town of Atlixco had avocado ice cream, (not universally loved, but respected by all and adored by yours truly). The markets had avocados for $2/lb. – and not just the regular Hass kinds you pick up for $18 at EarthFare – sizes and subtle tastes that we Americans don’t even know about. Tiny apricot-sized avocados that have a minty aftertaste; monster avocados with stringy fibers and not as much flavor (but great for guac), and the ones we could pluck from the tree in the back yard (extra hearty due to the compost toilet we’d built around it).

They’re the ideal option for the stranded-on-a-desert-island-with-only-one-food-source scenario. Mom says eat your greens? Done. Need a serving of fruit? Protein? Fiber? It can be a dip, dessert , breakfast, topping, or peeled back and stuffed straight into the pie hole. But there’s one problem.

Because of their universality, avocados have bumped my standards in other aspects of my life. If one food can be all things to all people, why can’t a profession, a community or a partner? Avocados are why I am still searching for the profession that allows me to be both outside and inside; both in the states and abroad; to help make change at a grassroots and a policy level. If an avocado can do it all, why can’t I? Avocados prove that you can be luxurious and frugal, health-conscious and frivolous at the exact same time. Like my avocados, my partner can be sweet and savory. Avocados keep me holding out for the lumberjack who also cries at chick flicks. For the Australian musician who wants to walk across the north of Spain and learn cultural competency the hard way in Morocco before settling down part-time in Colombia and part time in San Francisco. For a feminist gentleman who likes to compost but isn’t so environmentally conscious that he’s willing to dumpster dive for a mattress.

Am I expecting too much from life? Every time I smear avocado and honey on my toast or slice into its buttery chunks to plop into my salad, I think no way - if one food can be super, so can I. I think it’s the avocados that help hatch my aspirations. And with every morning smoothie, I acknowledge my job to make them both maximize their potential for the day. It’s kind of a daunting task, but if it involves eating avocados, I’m in.