Like grease stains to a share-house range hood, demographics expert and celebrity baby boomer Bernard Salt’s linking of young Australians’ avocado consumption to housing investment is stuck fast in our collective consciousness.
But when Salt ordained my generation the Smashed Avocado-ers, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to the fruits that’ve been pummeled to a pulp before they even hit your shopping basket. When you return from the shops to open up an avo that’s bruised, battered and browning before your eyes, it’s like someone’s trudged mud through the carpets of your new flat while the ink on your settlement papers is still drying.
Of course, it was probably the boomers getting handsy at the grocer – they can afford to hassle their Hass into submission and lose a few casualties along the way. But we all need to band together and stop feeling the need to squeeze the shiitake out of every Shepard on the shelf.
I wasn’t always an avocado activist, mind you. I used to be perfectly happy dawdling down the fresh food aisle, giving the odd alligator pear a pat just like any other self-respecting food fondler. But then something truly disastrous happened one too many times and I knew I had to speak out before things got any Wurtz.
My last Sunk Cost Salad was the final straw.
What’s a Sunk Cost Salad, you ask? It’s the kind where you’ve done everything right. Sniffed out the best tomatoes on the truss, verdant Lebanese cucumbers (they’re always the crunchiest), pinched in pink salt flakes, grassy olive oil with a fancy label, a crack of pep, and then in goes a red capsicum (firm, glossy) and a Spanish onion so sweet you’d tap out a triple dancing lady emoji over it.
Then, you reach for the investment piece. The avo. One that could have set you back more than $5.
And this bit happens in slow motion, because as you scoop the spotty flesh out of its seemingly untouched shell, a foulness emanates that should stop you dead in your tracks.
But you’ve already sunk so much money, time and energy into this bowl that you say to yourself, “How bad could it be?” and keep scooping.
Except it’s bad. Real bad. Dire enough to spark the writing of an impassioned op-ed while on mat-leave.
This is why I implore you: next time you’re faced with a gaggle of Gwen at the shops, resist before you reach. Read the labels – many thoughtful traders have even started to separate their stocks into traffic light systems or “some for now, some for tomorrow” piles.
If you’re out of luck on the labelling front, tread lightly. Pick up a shiny specimen by the rump as carefully as you would an infant, and give it a very gentle press on the tapered tip. If you get some give, you’re good to go.
Better yet, if there’s a stem intact and you’re still not sure, press the nub into the flesh – if it yields without too much trouble, like Jon Snow to Daenerys, it’s ready to bend the knee – straight into your basket.
My fellow millennials, in our clambering to buy the best brunch bang for buck, we’re a Hazzard to ourselves and each other. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Please, squeeze responsibly.
Alice Zaslavsky is the co-host of Short Cuts to Glory on SBS Food, culinary correspondent for ABC News Breakfast and ABC Radio Drive, author of Alice’s Food A –Z, and creator of Phenomenom. You can find her online as @AliceinFrames.