Monday, July 22, 2013

Holy Huacamole Salad!

Ahhh......summer.....time for a Mexican-inspired meal of make-your-own taco bar, chips and guac, right? In 2013 that plays just fine....sixty years ago, however, there was a different interpretation of what made a quick summer supper. I seem to recall the infatuation with Polynesian-inspired dishes, SPAM being one of them, so imagine my surprise to find a recipe for Huacamole Salad in the Notebook! On a page near the way-back, Grandma clipped a handful of first-prize recipes from some Indianapolis recipe contest. I noticed she only clipped the FIRST PRIZE winners, there are no second or third places to be seen. Not only is Huacamole freaking out my spell checker right now BUT the prize-winning recipe also had some freaky ingredients AND a forwarding address which I am totally going to Google in a moment. But first, see below:

Huacamole Salad -- Mrs. G. S. Wickler, 2634 W. 21st St, Indianapolis

First Prize

2 large avacados
1 small green onion grated
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

Mash avocados with solver fork. Add all other ingredients.

According to Google Earth, Mrs. Wickler lived close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and her home was built in 1949. It's a modest 832 square-foot, two-bedroom home (still standing and in decent shape) but did Mrs. Wickler know her avocados? Winning first prize may very well have been the highlight of a decade for her!

I wondered the popularity of avocados in this post-war era, when were they introduced and how were they prepared. According to Wikipedia, avocados were officially marketed to the American public in the 1940s by the California Avocado Advisory Board with their campaign, “Say Huakamole”. However, recipes for the fruit appear as early as 1886 when it was known as "Alligator Pear" ( As far as preparation goes, the recipes I found smushed the avocado with everything from grapes (1934, L.A. Times) to Parmesan Cheese (1952, Trader Vic's). Was Mrs. Wickler's recipe going to be a spoiler or a success? 

I hauled out a silver fork from the silver service Grandma gave us as a wedding gift fifteen years ago and started mashing. I was not sure about the silver fork but I assumed it had something to do with the avocado's tendency to turn brown when cut. Next, I attempted to GRATE a single green onion. That lasted about five seconds before I ran my chef's knife through it instead. Celery, really? I stayed true to Mrs. Wickler and pulverized a cup of celery and threw it in. Red pepper sauce? I though of Tabasco Brand but we didn't have any so a 1/2 teaspoon of the Trader Joe's version went in. Mayo? Huh? I suppose it is the equivalent to the sour cream I see in current guac recipes but it seems so, well, old. 

I mushed, smushed and tumbled the green mass into a period candlewick bowl, popped in a spoon and grabbed the tortilla chips. Mmmmm.....guacamole.....good. I mean, REALLY good. Yes, really! Despite the celery and the mayo the guac had a cool, creamy well-seasoned taste and texture. It was indeed spot-on with the garlic and hot sauce. I had to show restraint and not eat the entire bowl. Besides, I still had to see if the silver fork had anything to do with preventing oxidation. I pressed plastic wrap onto the top of the remaining guac and chilled it in the fridge overnight. 

At lunch the next day I was pleasantly surprised to see the guac only browned a bit at the very top but the underside was still bright green -- even without saving the pit. After a second day in the fridge the guac really was dicey in terms of color but the flavor was still good. Not sure I'll grab for the silver each time I cook with avocados but it's at least an option. Ole!

Soup Can Score -- FIVE out of FIVE Soup Cans!!

Note: When grabbing for the silver in the silver chest, a pink, embossed note tumbled from behind the silver was a letter from Grandma! I'd completely forgotten about the note and I was so glad I'd kept it with the silver service....the note was from fifteen years ago concerning the contents of the silver chest and the pattern, Joan of Arc. The meat fork is the one I used for mashing the avocados. Love it!


There are 8 sterling place settings: knife, fork, salad fork, spoon and soup or dessert.
Also the sugar shell, buffet butter spreader, gravy are sterling.
The two large buffet serving spoons have sterling handles but stainless bowls.
The small plain sterling spoon was given to me by my step-mother when she was born in May, 1893.
The meat fork is silver plate and made in 1904 (Wildrose).
Hope you enjoy "Joan of Arc",

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