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Anything but Avocados



Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
sullysolipsism
I am a vegetable addict. A huge bowl of leafy greens can always be found nestled somewhere among the dishes at dinnertime. I didn’t realize how dependent I am on the laxative effects of salad until I visited Europe this summer and, adhering to Italy’s pizza and pasta menu, didn’t have cause to visit the restroom from Venice to Rome.

Occasionally I recoil from the boiled texture of a zucchini cube that has stewed in my mother’s cooking pot too long. Some days the gelatinous constitution of tomato pulp sits uneasily on my tongue. Now and again I can’t muster the courage to consume raw broccoli and risk lodging the clustered flower heads between my teeth like misplaced orthodontia.

But for the most part, zucchini, asparagus, squash, broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes . . . They all slide down as easily as if my throat is a greased tube. Their unique flavors, whether savory or bland, meld into a colorful melee running the gamut from thick, steaming soup served on cold winter nights to the perfect vegetable platter for a hot summer day.

I am eleven or twelve when I eat avocado for the first time. It is taco night at the Sullivan house. My mother sets out the usual suspects: ground beef (all-natural, of course), an overflowing bowl of shredded organic lettuce, chopped tomatoes from Alice Gamewell’s garden across the street, low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Needless to say, my mother is an incurable health nut, although thankfully she hasn’t yet discovered the medicinal properties of wheat germ and she doesn’t strictly hold to Popeye’s devotion to spinach. So I am slightly surprised when she also sets out a family-size bag of Tostitos scoop chips instead of her usual Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s fare.

“Guacamole tonight!” she declares. My father whoops, already in the know. My brothers and I exchange looks, equal parts curious and apprehensive. We taste the strange foreign word on our tongues. Goo-wok-uh-mole-yee, we say, giggling. I am excited. I am taking Spanish for the first time this year, and I snatch at any chance I get to wet my feet in foreign culture.

Then my mother sets a bowl of strange green mucilage in the center of the table. I stare at it. Creeping fingers of horror grip my stomach, twisting it like a dishcloth.

Perhaps it is the sheen of moisture glistening grotesquely over its surface, all but emitting a nimbus of green light. Perhaps its coloring, its texture, the dangerous bits of red nestled among the green, like hazard lights warning to stay away! Whatever it is, I am repulsed. I can barely look at it, this spreading green paste so reminiscent of cat vomit or baby diarrhea . . . I simply can’t make myself put it in my mouth.

“Come on, Keilah,” my mother coaxes, holding a guacamole-laden chip before my mouth. The guacamole wiggles, or perhaps pulsates, in what to some people must be an appealing manner. A sort of “come-and-get-me” motion, the way someone crooks a finger in your direction, only this time guacamole-style.

It is a rule in our household that we must always try whatever new food is offered, be it cow tongue or fish brains. So I suppress a shudder, shut my eyes tight, my lids eclipsing the sight of the green glop, and open my mouth wide.

To be honest, I can’t actually remember its flavor. It could be ambrosia, for all I care, but the texture murders me. All I know is that I am suddenly gagging, the heavy glob of goo lodged in my throat, laced with broken bits of chip. I stumble out of my seat and race to the trashcan, forcefully disgorging a noisome mix of green saliva and chunky guacamole sludge. My stomach twists at the very sight of mess buried amidst crumpled wads of paper and pencil shavings.

Nowadays, there is an implicit rule at our house that my mother sets the guacamole bowl on the opposite side of the table from where I sit. Since that semi-fateful day, I have not been able to touch avocado.
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Comment by Babydoll


Joined: 9/1/2011
Posts: 2
I love the way you described certain things and I LOVE veggies too;)
Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 8:17:29 PM
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Comment by sullysolipsism


Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
Ha ha, thanks. I had fun writing this one. ;)
Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 12:14:28 AM
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