Avocado toast is a type of open sandwich made with mashed avocado and salt, pepper, and citrus juice on toast. Many other ingredients may be used, such as poached eggs, salmon, strawberries, garlic, tomatoes, capers, onions and feta.
It has appeared on café menus since at least the 1990s but began to take on political symbolism in the 2010s as a symbol of frivolous spending by Generation Y with Millenial influence.
In areas where avocados are abundant such as Mexico people have eaten avocado with corn tortillas for many years. In the San Francisco Bay Area, people have been eating avocado toast since at least 1885.
In 1915, the California Avocado Association described serving small squares of avocado toast as a hors d'oeuvre. According to The Washington Post, it was believed that chef Bill Granger - based in Sydney, Australia - may have been the first person to put avocado toast on his café menu in 1993. In 1999, Nigel Slater published a recipe for an avocado "bruschetta" in The Guardian. The journalist and editor Lauren Oyler credited Cafe Gitane with bringing the dish to the United States in its “Instagrammable” form, as it grew as a food trend. Chloe Osborne, the consulting chef at Cafe Gitane in Manhattan, erroneously estimated that the first creation of the avocado toast took place in Queensland, Australia in the mid-1970s.
In 1962, a New York Times article showcased a "special" way to serve avocado as the filling of a toasted sandwich. In another article published in The New Yorker on May 1, 1937, titled "Avocado, or the Future of Eating," the protagonist eats "avocado sandwich on whole wheat and a lime rickey."
Osborne said "avocado on toast was not on every Australian cafe when I put it on Gitane's menu, I think it caught on quickly there, but there was no predicting where it would head. It was almost a cliché in Australia by the time it was in Gwyneth Paltrow's book.” As Oyler said, “the dish's appearance in Gwyneth Paltrow's 2013 cookbook It's All Good is widely credited as being its turning-point from normal thing to eat to phenomenon. Jayne Orenstein of The Washington Post reports, “avocado toast has come to define what makes food trends this decade: It’s healthy and yet ever-so-slightly indulgent. It can be made vegan and gluten-free. It’s so Instagrammable that #avocadotoast has over 100,000 posts. And most important of all: It is wholeheartedly endorsed by Gwyneth Paltrow.” Gwyneth Paltrow has been credited to be the source of the popularization of avocado toast. She wrote in her cookbook, “truthfully this is one ‘recipe’ both Julia [co-author] and I make and eat most often! And it’s not even a recipe,” she writes. “It’s the holy trinity of [vegan mayonnaise], avocado and salt that makes this like a favorite pair of jeans — so reliable and easy and always just what you want.” With social media, the popularization of the food grew and after Paltrow's book food bloggers recreated the dish and merchandise being created. Bon Appétit magazine published a recipe for “Your New Avocado Toast” in its January 2015 issue. It followed with Meryl Streep turning into the fruit toast on the @tasteofstreep Instagram page.
Hannah Goldfield, an author for The New Yorker said, “according to David Sax, the most successful food trends reflect what’s going on in society at a given time. Americans wanted cupcakes ten years ago, he told Brickman, because they sought childhood comforts after the trauma of 9/11; Americans wanted fondue in the sixties because they aspired to cosmopolitanism. Artisanal toast, one might posit, represents our intensifying obsession with and fetishization of food. Every meal is special and important, every dish should be elevated, revered, and broadcast—even something as pedestrian as toast.” She argues that we are what we eat in terms of identity. “Avocado toast”—which might be described as a sub- or tangent-trend—has grown particular legs because it overlaps with another potent trend: “clean living.” The fad has reportedly increased the price of avocados.
The industry body Australian Avocados has several recipes for avocado toast on its website, including avocado on sweet potato toast, avocado and Vegemite toast, French toast with avocado and parmesan, avocado toast fingers with soft-boiled eggs, avocado and baked beans on toast, and avocado and feta smash on toasted rye.
According to Lauren Oyler from Broadly, “in certain demographics—young, urban, upwardly mobile, on Instagram—avocado on toast has surpassed the grilled cheese as the go-to easy-and-filling bread-based lunch, moving far beyond the curious-minded trend pieces it inspired in 2014 and 2015 to become a regular feature in the bourgeoisie's diet.”
In Australia in late 2016, avocado smashed on toast became a political flashpoint, after columnist Bernard Salt in The Australian stated that he had seen "young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more", arguing that they should be saving to buy a house instead. Millennials countered that they felt "a sense of futility" in saving for a house with the high cost of housing in Australia, and that figures showed that even if they gave up avocado toast, it would still take about a decade to save for a home deposit. Furthermore, cafes were said to have become the primary space for Millennials to catch up with their friends. In the wake of the controversy, several cafes offered 'discount' versions of smashed avocado on toast. Home lender ME bank started a home loan campaign with the slogan "Have your smashed avo and eat it too".
Tim Gurner, a 35-year-old Australian property developer, stated in May 2017 that Millennials should not be buying smashed avocado on toast and $4 lattes in their pursuit of home ownership. In response to this, it was estimated that the savings of forgoing avocado on toast would be an estimated €500 annually, and that at this rate it would take over 500 years to save for a house in the Republic of Ireland, at current market prices. This use of avocado toast has been likened to David Bach's "Latte Factor".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Avocado toast.|
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- Millionaire says millennials should stop buying avocado in order to buy dream home David Reid, CNBC, 16 May 2017
- Millionaire to Millennials: Your avocado toast addiction is costing you a house William Cummings, USA TODAY, May 16, 2017
- Millionaire tells millennials: if you want a house, stop buying avocado toast: Australian real estate mogul Tim Gurner advised young people to solve their housing woes by putting their ‘$22 a pop’ toast toward a deposit instead Sam Levin, The Guardian, 15 May 2017
- Millionaire to millennials: Lay off the avocado toast if you want a house Julia Horowitz, CNN Money, May 15, 2017
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