Christian invited us over for dinner. He made burritos with blackbeans, his mean vegetable stirfry, and guacamole. It was rapturous, but he had to tell us he's made better. I asked him if the Jehovah's Witnesses interrupted his dinner preparations, as they had come by my place again -- with their adorable 3-year-old daughter in tow.
"I told my daughter there was a nice girl with a cat in this house," said Mr. Witness.
The timing actually couldn't have been worse. "This is a really bad time," I said, still barely able to resist the clever ploy, those blond ringlets, those limpid eyes.
"No," said Christian. "I tell them I'm gay and they never come back. But really, these avocados aren't quite ripe enough. I have done better, I'll have you know."
Today at work when I chalked a 60-cents-apiece avocado sign, I knew I had to try my hand. I loaded up on limes, tomatoes, a Hermiston sweet onion, and four fat, dark, tender avocados. My guacamole was almost as good as Christian's: bright with lime juice and seasoned enough to make the avocados bold.
Harold McGee says that avocados are one of the few fruits that can only ripen off the tree. The tree pumps a ripening-inhibitor to all its avocados, allowing them to hang indefinitely in suspended adolescence from its branches, only to ripen when severed from that which gave them life. A neat trick I learned from Mama Ho: slice the avocado in half lengthwise. Whack the pit smartly at an acute angle with your knifeblade and twist it up toward you, lifting out the pit in a single smooth motion. I think she also had some clever trick for getting the pit off the knifeblade in another smooth motion, but I can only manage it with numerous jerks. Refrain from hitting (on) her girlfriend and you're good to go.