I’ve said it before. Being a liberal is a pain in the ass. You can’t even read the news without discovering twelve ways your daily routine is ruining everything. First you have to ditch your polar fleece. Then your hamburger. Now it’s avocados.
I eat a lot of avocados. I thought the problem with avocados was that each one was an opaque crapshoot fruit with a fifteen-minute window of ripeness. That problem got solved, as almost anything can be, by youtube. Of course there is a way to ensure perfect avocadocy. Just as there is a way to skin a butternut squash using voodoo pins and a microcharge of dynamite. Just as there is a way to clean charred food out of a saucepan using baking soda and an old armadillo dipped in vinegar. Youtube is wonderful.
So I’ve been going through about four perfect avocados a week.
Each one of which, it says here, requires 320 liters of water to grow. And even more quarts. Well, hell. It gets worse. The rising demand for avocados has led to significant deforestation as the farmers take down native shade vegetation to raise a monoculture of avocado trees—leading, as all monocultures do, to impoverished soils requiring ever more artificial fertilizers and pesticides. The water in many areas is being unsustainably drained from aquifers that local populations depend on for, uh, drinking. The overdraw is even causing earthquakes.
It’s all too much. I’ve already had to swear off my fave white rhino casserole with the side of giant panda tenders fried in palm oil, and now this. Now every time I whomp up a guacamole I’m going to imagine dipping it out with scrawny little dessicated Chilean children you could snap like crackers.
Top chefs have responded to the problem with new recipes to replace traditional guacamole. One famous restaurant claims to have duplicated the mouth-feel and flavor using green chili, limes, coriander, and fava beans, with a nice Chianti. They call it Whack-a-mole. [No they don’t.] Another uses pistachios, pine oil, cucumber juice, and fermented gooseberries.
I’m not known for creativity in the kitchen but I’m thinking of tooling around with locally sourced pond scum, Windex, and aphid poop in a sour cream reduction.
Being a liberal takes some of the punch out of living in an enormous house made of lumber and rare minerals and a hundred convenient energy-sucking devices. We’re a little less likely to think of it as enjoying the fruits of our labors, or thinking we’ve somehow earned it—when what we’ve really done is amassed enough money for it, maybe even got a little bump from the previous generation, and in any case never worked one day in our lives as hard as the people who pick our fruit or mine the cobalt for our batteries.
Fact is, there are too goddamn many of us and those of us what gots are actively stealing from them what ain’t, whether or not we choose to be aware of it. People who worry about “redistribution” of (their) wealth often have an inflated view of their own real worth. And what it costs the world to support them.
So. My avocados. I do believe in a market economy, but mine is a fantasy market, in which the real costs of everything are accounted for. The environmental costs, the human costs, the value drained from our children’s future. Bring it on: the twenty-two dollar avocado.
I’m no purist. Avocados are delicious. Maybe they’d be even more delicious once a month. So I’d still have the occasional avocado. But it would be an occasion.
I am a little curious about the fermented gooseberries.