Introducing the Avocado to North Americans
In the 1920s, fans of the fruit thought a catchy name would do the trick. They sponsored a contest, and 16 entrants came up with the winner: Calavo. The idea, recalls Jack Shepherd, president emeritus of the Calavo Growers of California (now named Calavo Growers Inc.), was to distinguish the California varieties from the Florida cropand from the inferior avocados that many backyard gardeners were growing from seeds, giving the fruit a bad name.
The new variety of avocado was the product of "years of careful search in subtropical Latin America," proclaimed promotional literature published in the 1930s by the cooperative. Here, at last, was a variety worthy of being called "the aristocrat of salad fruits."
In 1932, the cooperative published a recipe pamphlet called "The New Calavo Hostess Book." For the most part, the recipes arent much more adventurous than "Calavo on the halfshell," your basic half of an avocado with lemon juice or onion juice, salt and pepper.
A recipe called "Calavonnaise" is a bit more ambitious. The mixture of a sieved avocado, a beaten egg yolk, salt, dried mustard and lemon juice is "a slenderizing, colorful and flavorful salad dressing the whole family will enjoy," containing only 32 calories per tablespoon, one-third the calories of mayonnaise, says the Hostess Book.
The book cuts loose on desserts, with an avocado-strawberry pie and the following, which we reprint arguably more for historical than culinary interest.
Avocado Ice Cream
1 cup sugar
1. Boil the sugar and water until it forms a syrup, then add vanilla.
2. Mix syrup with milk and cream and put in freezer for 10 minutes until partially frozen.
3. Combine avocado pulp with egg white and beat well.
4. Blend avocado pulp and slices with milk mixture and freeze hard.
Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef