We saw in January on "My Diet Is Better Than Yours" where Taj was confused by the outside of an avocado. Jovanka pointed out that Taj loves Mexican food. Taj knew what the inside of an avocado looked like based on the end product of guacamole. But Taj did not know how an avocado worked.
This picture shows what the inside of an avocado looks like, mostly. The above avocado was found at a Sobeys in Thornhill, Ontario. This would be really helpful to Taj, but confuses the rest of us.
The avocado in that store in Atlanta (where "My Diet Is Better Than Yours" was taped) came with the seed and its own natural packaging. And even with the seed and its skin, even in an organic grocery store in Atlanta, that avocado costs a lot less than $3.99.
So what are people getting for that $3.99?
- Guaranteed freshness — True, you could buy an avocado and not get one as pristine. Or you can learn by touch and timing and experience as to how to pick an avocado. Plan to use an avocado in a couple of days? Pick one that feels firm and set it on the kitchen counter. Plan to use an avocado right away? Pick one that feels softer. Find out that is too mushy? Don't pick that one.
- Seed extracted — You don't have to worry about taking away the seed. Of course, you ruin one of the coolest things to do with a knife, to stab the seed and take it out. Plus, some people use the avocado seed for extra nutrition.
- No outer skin — We can't tell by the packaging but the outer skin might not be there. No having to scoop out the avocado from the outer skin. You can save a whole 60-90 seconds of scooping and who has time to scoop?
And we're almost certain, the whole avocado costs less than $3.99. At my local supermarket, I could get 6 avocados, seeds included, for about that same amount of money.
When people complain that they don't know how to cook, that they want to do more cooking, food knowledge is what they need. Keeping avocados green once you've opened them? Lemon or lime juice will help retain the color.
The primary audience for "avocado halves" are people with a lot of money and little food knowledge.
Avocados aren't limited to guacamole. They provide good fat and creaminess in many recipes from avocado chocolate pudding to a great substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches. Using them is so much easier when you understand how avocados work.
We're told the healthiest food has no labels. Avocado halves from Sobeys and peeled oranges from Whole Foods work hard to being on the exception to that rule.
The peeled oranges and avocado halves serve the same purpose: "convenience" from lazy, rich people who somehow don't have the time/knowledge/energy to peel an orange or halve an avocado.
We don't know how much the peeled orange costs but convenience always comes at a price.
The peeled orange is missing the orange peel with the potential for orange zest or rind, both of which can add flavor and flair to a dish.
There is also the joy in removing the peel from an orange that you might have hated as a child but can appreciate as an adult. If peeling an orange is difficult, cut the orange in half makes peeling an orange much easier. Quartering an orange makes the process even easier.
Convenience in food makes lives easier, but they shouldn't be a substitute for not knowing about the food we eat. Carrot and celery sticks, vegetable and fruit trays have similar principles but are more acceptable.
Peeling a carrot or cutting up celery stalks takes time and effort but you learn how they work. And freshly cut carrots and celery always tastes better than pre-cut versions.
We talk a lot about knowing where your food comes from in terms of meat and dairy but that also applies to fruits and vegetables. Food involves taste, smell, sight, and, to a lesser extent, hearing. But touch is crucial in determining viability and freshness, especially in produce.
The firmness of an avocado or orange determines whether you are getting the best produce. Once you learn that life skill, you can eat forever. When the food is hiding behind a plastic-and-cardboard mask, you rely on the judgment of a company that sells produce outside of its natural packaging. In that scenario, you can eat but you don't learn a thing about eating.
photos credit: Sobeys and Facebook//Michelle Cehn/Facebook