Holy Guacamole! (or How Taste Buds Can Change)

July 15, 2015

I never really liked avocado. But somewhere in my teenage years I heard that taste buds change every three years, so I kept on trying avocado despite it being a “thumbs down” for me each time. And while the research I’ve done recently on taste buds and taste development does not support this theory of the three year turn over, I am happy to say that somewhere in my twenties, because of my commitment to continue trying foods I wasn’t fond of, I began to love avocado! It all changed with this amazing guacamole dip that I tried deep in the heart of Texas.

I have three small children — 7, 5 and about to be 2. What I’ve learned about taste from them is that it is possible train a child’s palate. Many parenting books tell you that kids may need to try foods anywhere from 10-15 times before they will accept the taste and texture as good to them. It may have something to do with the sensitivity of these new “taste radars” they’ve been equipped with.

My kids eat pretty much everything under the sun. I credit this not only to consistently trying all different kinds of foods with them during their toddler years, but also to having a dinner table rule that says they must try at least one bite of everything on their plates. Even if the last time they ate it they didn’t like it. Like magic, salad has become acceptable on the dinner plate! And, remarkably, things like broccoli and spicy foods and coconut curry have always been on the menu for them.

As we go through pregnancy and menopause (ladies) and as we age our taste buds can change, too. This has to do primarily with hormonal fluxuations.  Certain medications can change the way we taste, too, and smoking can “deaden” our taste buds so that we seem to taste less.

But back to the guacamole! This guac I tasted about 15 years ago changed everything. And while the recipe I share below isn’t the exact concoction that proved to me that my taste buds changed, it’s close.

Here’s the most important tip I can give you with this recipe: Texture is EVERYTHING! Don’t grate or crush the garlic. You’ve got to finely mince it. When you mash the avocado, run a knife through it in the bowl many times until it’s well mashed but still has some little pieces. It’s not as good when it’s a blended texture. For the onion and the tomato, it’s a fine dice. And if you decide to add jalapeno, I suggest mincing it. The final secret is the perfect-to-you amounts of salt, pepper and lime juice.

Get ready for people to request this guacamole at every gathering you attend. It’s that good!

[yumprint-recipe id=’6′]

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erica pyle

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