THE SECRET OF GUACAMOLE

By Margaret Van Every

 

guacamole-1It’s simple, the guaca from the middle

of aguacate, Spanish for avocado, and mole,

which to Aztecs conjures sauce.

Choose avocados (Haas are best)

just yielding to the pressure of the thumb.

Then fetch fire: jalapenos or serranos,

the most that you can bear, seeds and all,

to cleanse the sinuses and sweat you sinless

from inside out. You’ll need a ripe tomato,

squeezed of excess juice, lime and salt

to taste, plus all los dientes de ajo the company

will stand. Mash it all together but not to mush,

and you’ve got guacamole . . .sort of.

The missing ingredient now will be revealed:

it’s the one you can’t go out and buy.

We’re talking about the three-legged molcajete,

the mortar and pestle ground from lava

by generations of brightly-clad women

kneeling on dirt floors, waste-length braids

knotted behind them, making guacamole.

No dowry is complete without an Aztec blender,

not some imitation procured at the mercado,

whipped out by machine, but one that’s been

seasoned down deep in the pores, that flavors

the salsa with the scorched breath of a volcano

and a bouquet of stone. It harbors remnants of

centuries-old cuisine and bestows on the bride

the aggregate blessing of grandmas before,

whose grinding deepened the bowl with each

batch and etched memory into the grooves.

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