By Ilana Sharlin Stone
Seriously? At the start of this month, the First World was up in arms, not because of Syrian refugees or severe drought, but because of #Avogate: ‘domestic Goddess’ Nigella Lawson’s demo of a ‘recipe’ for avocado on toast on British TV.
I’m pretty much an internet troll when it comes to food and I still have half a foot planted in California where I grew up, but somehow, unlike kale and chia seeds, this trend totally escaped me.
Living in South Africa, I’ve discovered that avocado is not just a good fat; it’s a staple. And, avocado on toast – known as avo on toast – is as trendy as.…quiche.
- Avo on toast has been a thing in South Africa forever. It’s like peanut butter on toast. Hard to imagine that as the next ‘cronut’ (croissant-doughnut).
- It’s never been ‘trendy’ here in South Africa. Which doesn’t mean it’s not adored. My husband has eaten mashed avo on toast with salt, pepper and brown vinegar since he was a boy. His dad, who grew up in Kwazulu-Natal, ate it before him. The avos they ate, which were huge and buttery, mostly came from trees in people’s gardens.
- Avo on toast is a snack/lunch that as far as I know, is colour blind – as in, every race eats it. Like potato chips. But a lot healthier.
- Avo on bread is portable…take avocado, loaf of bread, knife and fork, s and p, and voila: lunch. Add electricity and you have avo on toast.
- With banting*/paleo** now well-entrenched here, there’s less bread and more avo being slathered about.
- Avos are, thankfully, still seasonal here (not here in Cape Town, but in northeastern SA). According to the South African Avocado Growers’ Association, avocados have a 7 to 8-month growing season. Round about now (end of November), they are phasing out for the summer, the time when you really crave them most. So for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been stocking up.
In short, #Avogate means nothing to South Africans, who will continue to smash avo on toast, without knowing or caring that it was ever trendy anywhere else.
* William Banting’s high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet made famous in SA by Tim Noakes.
** The paleolithic diet is based on foods our ancestors would’ve eaten like meat, nuts and berries and excludes foods like dairy.
About Ilana Sharlin Stone
A former chef and restaurant owner, Ilana Sharlin Stone is a Cape Town-based food writer whose blog, Finding Umami in Cape Town, explores the food and food culture of the Mother City.