THE SECRET OF GUACAMOLE
By Margaret Van Every
It’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.