Guacamole is a popular dip that is made of avocado, salt, and lime juice. It is usually found in Mexican restaurants, and they serve it as a side dish as well. It also has been an addition to parties, a get-together with friends, and Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Guacamole is a Mexican favorite, but it has become a modern American tradition as well during the big game.
It is a tasty dip that can be paired with every snack, such as with nachos or tostadas. Aside from that, it can also be used in place of sandwich spread on your sandwiches. You can also add it to salads to enhance the flavor, pair it with fresh veggies, or add it as a topping to your favorite pizza. There are also different ways of how Americans eat guacamole. A casual way is to dip tortilla chips out of a bowl and share it with friends, but most do their dipping using a spoon. But no matter how it is eaten, guacamole is one of the food trends that are here to stay.
Since guacamole is being enjoyed by almost everyone, have you ever wondered how it started? Have you ever asked who the first one to create this delicious dip was? Well, the history behind guacamole is as rich as its flavor. If you want to know more about this delightful dip, you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to tell you all about the history behind guacamole.
Origins of Guacamole
The origin of the word avocado has an interesting backstory. When the Spanish adopted the word, it took on aguacate. This word then developed into avogato over time, and finally, the modern usage of the word avocado was the one that stuck. English speakers exposed to the fruit used a descendant of the Spanish word. They called the fruit an Avagato pear because it resembles a pear’s shape. It was also known as an alligator pear because of the green texture of its skin. The word for guacamole is also connected to the Aztec word for avocado.
In the 14th century, the Aztecs first made guacamole, and it is called by another name, “ahuacamolli,” which means “avocado sauce.” It was made purely of avocado. This fruit was a big part of the Aztecs’ diet, and when the Spanish encountered them in the 1500s, they used the same basalt mortar and pestle that we use today to mash the avocados and blend the ingredients of the special green dip. The Spanish used to call avocado “ahuacatl.” Then, it turned into “aguacate” before it gradually changed into “avocado.”
In 1926, Rudolph Hass, a mail carrier in California, was the first one who delivered a unique-looking bumpy-skinned fruit which was called the Hass avocado. He purchased a seedling from a farmer and patented his avocado tree in 1935. In fact, this is the first-ever U.S. patent on a tree. Hass avocado became popular, and lots of people bought this fruit; that is why the popularity of guacamole also went through the roof.
Despite the deep roots of guacamole, the Columbian exchange provided new flavors to it. Some of the ingredients commonly added to guacamole today are garlic and cumin, which came from Southeast Asia to Europe, and then to the United States through the Columbian exchange. Another staple to many guacamole recipes today is the Persian lime, and it originated in southern Asia as well. It was largely being produced in the Middle East and eventually reached Western Europe during the crusades. In 1943, guacamole was introduced to the Americas by Columbus on his second journey.
The roots of guacamole are in Mexican soil, but people all over the world have caught on to this delicious dip, and it has been assimilated into American culture. It is one of the most widely consumed products during the Super Bowl, which is a significant event in contemporary American culture. It is quite special to prepare guacamole during the Super Bowl because it is not the typical growing season of avocados at that time which is the primary ingredient of the dip.
Another reason why guacamole became so popular is because of the NAFTA agreement in the early 90s. This agreement allowed avocadoes to flow freely into the United States in the winter from Mesoamerican countries. In 2008, Mexico became the largest supplier of avocados to the United States, which led to the popularity of guacamole in the U.S. With this, you will be able to trace the route of guacamole’s history from the Aztecs to the Spaniards to modern-day Americans.
There are also lots of people in different parts of the world who have put their own regional spin on the classic dip. In Japan, they mix soy sauce, wasabi paste, and rice vinegar to avocados. In France, they enjoy their guacamole on fresh baguettes with tarragon and shallots. But every familiar recipe contains a few necessary staples such as lime, onions, and tomatoes. Well, the only important ingredient for guacamole is plenty of avocados, and the rest depends on your preference. This is also a way to prove that there’s an immense, fascinating diversity found in one simple ethnic treat.
Guacamole is a host to a large number of health benefits. It contains many nutrients in addition to being readily available. The nutritious value of guacamole is relatively high. Guacamole is a high source of carbs and healthy fats, and it helps with blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It is also a great source of potassium and sodium, which can work against developing high blood pressure.
Additionally, guacamole is an excellent source of vitamins and fibers. It helps us fight various heart diseases and cancer, keeps inflammation in check, and is loaded with good cholesterol (HDL). It is also recommended for dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, E, and B6.
Types of Avocados
Though guacamole originated in Mexico, it is not the only place to grow native avocados. There are different types of avocados (Mexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian) with slight differences in appearance and flavor. Mexico is one of the largest producers of avocados, supplying 32% of the world’s total.
The oldest avocado pit found is 10,000 years old and was discovered in the Coxcatlan Cave in Mexico. The Hass avocado that you mostly see in grocery stores was not the Aztecs’ kind. It dates back to the 1920s, when a postman bought avocado seeds, planted them, and one of the resulting seedlings yielded a new type we know today as the Hass. There are more than 500 types of avocados worldwide, and some avocado trees are known to thrive for hundreds of years.
Guacamole Was a Kingly Dish
As mentioned above, guacamole originated from the Aztecs. There’s a story that the women of the palace used to prepare huge quantities of food for the evening meal of the emperor Montezuma and his followers. There’s one woman who is in charge of preparing the favorite dish of Montezuma, which is the ahuacamolli. Together with her helpers, they worked quickly for this dish to be served. They removed the large pits and the leathery skin of the fruit. They dropped the green flesh into their molcajetes and mashed it until it became a chunky paste. After that, they added a few spoonsful of sauce made from sea salt, green chilies, and vine-ripe tomatoes.
When each woman’s batch is completed, it is piled carefully into a large ceramic platter that is finely crafted. It is imported exclusively for the Royal Household from the city of Cholula, which is across the snowcapped mountains to the east. A young maiden would bring the platter in her outstretched arms and carry it into the dining hall when everyone was ready. She will bow her head, kneel, and place the dish before the great and powerful Montezuma. Emperor Montezuma, on the other hand, will take a warm corn tortilla from the basket at his side and use it to scoop a bite of the ahuacamolli. He savors the flavor of the dip, as well as its creamy texture. He then smiles and nods his approval.
Now that you know the history behind guacamole, you can now tell your family and friends its story the next time you make and serve this dip. Guacamole is also considered a popular condiment today. If you want to know more about other condiments as well, you can check out our Ultimate Guide to Types of Condiments for more information.