Early Guacamole: I Say Ahuaca-mulli, You Say Wakimoli

Ahuaca-mulli, Tenochtitlan, pre-1519

In America's First Cuisines (UT Press, 1994) food historian Sophie Coe explains that the Aztec ahuaca-mulli (avocado sauce) is "the pre-Columbian dish most easily accessible to us." She describes it as "the combination of mashed avocados, with or without a few chopped tomatoes and onions [seasoned] with New World coriander."

Aguacate Salad, New York, 1912

This early recipe was published in a 1912 New York Times article about preparing Alligator Pears. Avocados were purportedly introduced to New York society in 1895 by journalist Richard Harding Davis, who brought some from Venezuela to restaurateur Charles Delmonico. His French chef Charles Ranhofer put them on the menu, and avocado preparations became fashionably exotic.

Cut three ripe avocado pears in halves, take out the stones, and scrape the pulp from the skin. Add three tomatoes, first removing the skin and hard pieces around the stem end, and half a green pepper pod, cut in fine shreds. Crush and pound the whole to a smooth mixture, then drain off the liquid. To the pulp, add a teaspoonful or more of onion juice and a generous teaspoonful of lemon juice or vinegar. Mix thoroughly and serve at once.

Wakimoli Salad, Hollywood, 1931

One of the earliest uses of the term guacamole (sort of) in English can be found in Fashions in Food in Beverly Hills, published in 1931 by the Beverly Hills Woman's Club. Actress Helen Twelvetrees provided this recipe, learned from a Mexico City friend.

The calavos are halved, the stones removed, and the meat scraped from the half shells. Thoroughly mash the meat and stir finely chopped onions into it. Beat in mayonnaise dressing until the mixture attains the consistency of thick paste. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. This may be served in the half shells, on lettuce, or is delicious on toasted crackers.

Calavo (get it?) was a term for California avocados trademarked in 1926 by the California Avocado Growers Exchange, who also renamed their organization Calavo.

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