I grew up in a household that did not revere avocados. Unlike my own adult home where I panic when I start running low, my mother didn't care for them, so we didn't eat them. It was not until I was in college that I was introduced to Mexican food and the deliciousness that is guacamole. Interestingly, it was Mr. O-P who took me out for my first Mexican dinner (rather frightening me with the refried beans) back when I was his student. Well, technically, I was not his student as I'd dropped his class weeks before deciding that studying 18th-Century British Literature was not the way that I wanted to spend my time. (In later years this REALLY came back to bite me on the behind, as all things tend to do, but that is another story.)
The guacamole was created table side in a bowl made of lava rock. A geology major at the time, I was fascinated by anything having to do with rocks and minerals; a foodie from birth I was completely intrigued to see them used as kitchen tools. That day I decided that I wanted this strange rock bowl.
Flash forward twenty some years, years of Christmas and birthday lists with my number one item being a molcajete. Years and years of disappointment. No one in my family knew what it was, no one knew how to pronounce the word, so wouldn't dream of asking for one, so no one bought it. This one, this gorgeous one here is courtesy of Williams-Sonoma (And, heads up people, they’re on sale!). I am now in possession of a Mexican mortar (molcajete) and pestle (tejolete) carved from volcanic rock. It will set at the center of my table and will be used, I vow, weekly or more. It will retain oils of the spices used as it becomes seasoned over the years; the interior will become as smooth as glass from grinding. This will become my culinary version of the arc of the covenant, a symbol of creation, strength, life, and sustenance. Too over dramatic for you?
If you like guacamole, get one. You will not regret it. It you get one from Williams-Sonoma you will find that it comes basically seasoned, meaning most of the rough edges have been ground down. There will still have to be some effort on your part though, and this will unleash your inner Aztec.
To ensure there is no grit in your food, throw about a quarter of a cup of rice into the work bowl, and grind it into powder. You will see little bits of black grit mixed in with the rice. Dump the rice, and repeat this process until no grit appears.
Then rinse the bowl, scrubbing lightly with a wire brush, set on the counter and let it air dry.
Tomorrow we make guacamole!
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