Looking for alternatives begins a new adventure.
|Yes, We Have No Avocados
“No avocados? What do you mean no avocados? I have 30 people coming to my house tonight expecting my famous guacamole and margaritas poolside and you tell me you don’t have the main ingredient. Let me speak to the manager!” Buffy Singleton had been shopping here for years and her husband owned half the shopping center where they stood. She would not stand for this.
The sales clerk was more than happy to let his boss take over with this customer. He had been answering this question all morning. “I’ll get her for you right away.” Across the airways of the store everyone heard his plea, “Mrs. Ellis to produce, please, right away.”
The scene was repeated in grocery stores across the nation as the tariff on certain produce items grown in Mexico had gone into effect. Not everyone had believed it would come to this. Those that did had rushed the stores to gather all the avocados and other tariffed goods before they were gone. I, like Mrs. Singleton, had waited and now I was listening to her rant and rave to no avail. There was really nothing the poor manager could do to correct the situation.
Or, maybe there was. As Mrs. Singleton left the store swearing that she would call her congressman, I took out my phone and started searching the internet for alternatives to avocados. Surprisingly I found several recipes that had substitutes for the now elusive green item. I was almost overwhelmed with the number of recipes available. Yes, even for guacamole.
Hummus, green peas, ricotta cheese, edamame, and asparagus became the base for so many delicious sounding dishes. I proceeded to buy what I needed for this version of guacamole and headed home, ready to try something new.
“Terry, try this, see what you think.” I put the dish, mounded with the new concoction, in front of the most finicky eater I know, my teenaged son.
“Hey, Mom, this is good. It’s not your usual recipe, though, right? It’s different somehow, but I like it ok.” If I’d gotten it past him I was on my way.
The following Tuesday I served the same dish with a few enhancements. I added more salt, garlic, and heat. This time it was my book club that enjoyed it without knowing the ingredients.
“I believe this is the best guacamole I’ve had. Did you get the recipe when you were in New Mexico last summer?” I knew Sally Wright would know if it tasted authentic.
Some of the group were watching their weight or had allergies to avocados and weren’t trying the dish. I told them, “You can try this and feel good about yourself. There’s no avocado in it at all. The main ingredient is actually asparagus. “
Some took small bites then went back for more. Finally everyone was enjoying this alternative delicacy and making comments. “Oh, you should package this. Give me the recipe.”
After two weeks I had done enough research and taste testing that I was confident I really had something. I approached the manager at the grocery and told her about my plan. It would at least get us through the situation that was affecting us all.
“I have written out recipes using substitutes for avocado since you’re having difficulty bringing enough in right now. This makes healthy dishes and they still taste good. We could post them in the produce area. Probably 3x5 cards would do. Then I have made a sample of the guacamole I’ve made using asparagus. See what you think about it.”
The big smile on her face said Mrs. Ellis was pleased. “This is really good. Are you selling this? How much can you provide me?”
That was the dilemma. “Yes, that’s my plan. I’m still waiting on business and health licenses to come in. The officials all said I should have them first of next week. However, I can get enough of the cards printed by tomorrow to have them here. They could be free; it’s the produce you want to sell. What do you think? Do you want to give it a try?” I was very excited.
Mrs. Ellis obviously shared my enthusiasm. “Let’s go with it, and thank you. This will help us a lot. Come back here and let me introduce you to our produce manager, Phillip. He will need to place orders for the substitute items so we don’t run out of those, too.”
“The TV cameras began to turn as the audience heard, “This is Charles Jemez for Channel Nine news with a real American success story. We have with us Sue Wilson ready to tell us how her new business began. Step up here Ma’am and tell our listeners about how life gave you lemons and you made lemonade.”