Worms and Flowers

Avocado: Ancient Fruit of Intrigue Part 1 of 5

Posted in Avocado by Lzyjo on June 15, 2009

Since I wrote the longest post in the history of the blogosphere I am dubbing this week avocado week for my five part series.

When I think of avocados I picture hippies, sandwiches  made with brown bread, sprouts, and avocado slices.  I  also think of people sitting in spas with their faces covered with green goo and of course, California Rolls with their signature pink and green centers. Avocados aren’t some newfangled invention of 20th Century beauty mavericks, or hippie health nuts.

Avocados weren’t always the highly esteemed fruit they are today, in fact it may have been the avocado’s name that led to some misconceptions and scandalous perceptions about the fruit. In the Nahutal language, the language the Aztecs spoke, the name for avocado is āhuacatl, which translates directly to testicle. It’s bad enough that the fruit was named after a certain part of male anatomy, but it was also a powerful symbol of fertility to the Aztecs, who, according to lore, would lock their virgin daughters inside their houses during the harvesting season. When the Conquistadors and Colonists got a load of that you can believe they must have been frightened. Misconceptions were so extreme that person who ate an avocado would find it very difficult to maintain their chaste image. In the 1920s are large ad campaign was launched to dispel perceptions about the aphrodisiac effects of the fruit.

Tomorrow I will be posting about the Conquistadors and the avocado’s introduction to the old world.

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7 Responses

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  1. Eric Bronson said, on June 15, 2009 at 8:40 AM

    Great post about an underrated delicious fruit!!!!! I love avocados!!!


    Thank you, Eric. I love avocados too. They have many virtues, even as an ornamental.

  2. Jen said, on June 15, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    I didn’t realize the avocado had such a fascinating history. LOL about the “aphrodisiac effects” and the avocado’s “chaste image”. You mean we can’t use it as a subsitute for viagra??!

    LOL, Jen! It’s all mind over matter! I was totally wowed when I first read all these crazy things about avocados. Who knew?! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. tina said, on June 15, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    I love avocados-no matter their reputation. It would be so fun to grow them!

    Yum! They are delicious! I don’t care what people say anyways….just kidding!

  4. David in Kansas said, on June 15, 2009 at 9:44 AM

    I often tell people that in certain parts of the world, guacamole is not a dip nor a side dish but a main course proper!
    A friend from Hawaii used to sprinkle sugar on an avocado and eat them like an apple (without the husk of course).
    I eat them as often as I can afford them as they tend to be pricey here in Kansas.
    Also, I miss the variety. Here you find Hess and nothing else.

    I’ve never had them with sugar, but I’ve known people to eat them with a spoon, plain with only salt, that’s a little much for me, but I love guacamole with tortillas!

  5. gail said, on June 15, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Although I like avocado, I forget to get any when I shop! They do taste great as a spread on a whole wheat bread and cheese sandwich. The avocado seed sprouting in the window of many a rental apartment in the early 70s springs to mind for me! (add to grocery list, ripe avocado) gail

    Gail, now is the time for avocados, 1$ each in the grocery store. Delicious! I too think of hippies sprouting the seeds! Even DH grew one back in the day!

  6. Daphne Gould said, on June 15, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    I never think of hippes when I think of avocados. Whenever I think of avocados I think of beans and tortillas. Or guacamole. I love them in salads too and on sandwiches. OK now you’ve made me hungry. Avocados are one of my favorite foods and it is lunch time. Too bad I don’t have any right now.

    MMMM! I love avocado with salty tortillas! Yummy avocados and healthy too!

  7. mcl said, on June 15, 2009 at 12:05 PM

    It’s guacamole for me. I can inhale that stuff. I’ve never really tried avocados any other way. Thanks for sharing some of it’s history. I’ll keep checking in.

    It does have a particular scent and the lovely green color. Guacamole is my favorite also. Thanks for stopping by.

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