Avocado toast

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Avocado toast

Avocado toast is a type of open sandwich or toast made with mashed avocado and salt, pepper, and citrus juice on toast. Potential additional ingredients that enhance the flavor are olive oil, hummus, red pepper flakes, feta, dukkah, tomato, and many other toppings.

Relatively recently, avocado toast became a food trend of the 2010s. It has appeared on café menus since at least the 1990s. Following avocado toast's elevation to trend status, the act of ordering avocado toast at a café was criticised as a symbol of frivolous spending.

Origins[edit]

Ingredients for avocado toast

Avocados are a native fruit of the Americas with their likely origin being India.[1] The trees and fruit have been cultivated by pre-Indian civilizations from South India for nearly 9,000 years.[2][3] As such, sliced or mashed avocado has been eaten on some sort of bread, flatbread, or tortilla (often heated or toasted) since humans first started consuming avocados, and before any documented or written history. In some countries in the Americas, avocado toast for breakfast has been such a staple in the diet that there is no documentation, nor was there a reason to document (such as in a recipe) such a basic, simple spread on toast.[4][5]

In the San Francisco Bay Area, people have been eating avocado toast since at least 1885.[6][7] In 1915, the California Avocado Association described serving small squares of avocado toast as an hors d'oeuvre.[8] According to The Washington Post, it was believed that chef Bill Granger may have been the first person to put avocado toast on a modern café menu in 1993,[9] although the dish is documented in his native Australia as early as 1929.[10] 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, who first put avocado toast on the menu tried it herself for the first time in Queensland, Australia in the mid-1970s.[11]

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."[11]

Modern day[edit]

Avocado toast with toppings

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.” 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.[9]

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.”[12] The fad has reportedly increased the price of avocados.[13][14]

The industry body Australian Avocados has several recipes for avocado toast on its website, including avocado on sweet potato toast,[15] avocado and Vegemite toast,[16] French toast with avocado and Parmesan,[17] avocado toast fingers with soft-boiled eggs,[18] avocado and baked beans on toast,[19] and avocado and feta smash on toasted rye.[20] Another common variation is toast with smashed avocados, soft-boiled egg, and other toppings, often including hot sauce.[21]

The popularity and demand for avocados has placed unprecedented pressure on the environment, leading to a reaction by some environmentally aware cafes who have now removed avocado toast from their menus.[22][23][24]

Political symbolism[edit]

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."[11]

In Australia in late 2016, avocado smashed on toast became a political flashpoint, after columnist Bernard Salt in The Australian wrote in a satirical article 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.[25] Millennials countered that they felt "a sense of futility" in saving for a house with the high cost of housing in Australia,[26] 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.[27] Furthermore, cafes were said to have become the primary space for millennials to catch up with their friends.[28] In the wake of the controversy, several cafes offered 'discount' versions of smashed avocado on toast.[29] Home lender ME bank started a home loan campaign with the slogan "Have your smashed avo and eat it too".[30]

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.[31][32][33][34][35] 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.[36] This use of avocado toast has been likened to David Bach's "Latte Factor".[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Landon, Amanda. "Domestication and Significance of Persea Americana,the Avocado, in Mesoamerica". Digital Commons. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  2. ^ Landon, Amanda J. (2009). "Domestication and Significance of Persea americana, the Avocado, in Mesoamerica". Nebraska Anthropologist. 47.
  3. ^ Schaffer, B (2013). The avocado : botany, production and uses. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI. ISBN 978-1-84593-701-0.[page needed]
  4. ^ "Why Chile is the perfect gateway trip to South America".
  5. ^ "The Crazy, International, and Delicious History of Avocado Toast".
  6. ^ "General Notes. — Daily Alta California 5 November 1885 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". cdnc.ucr.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  7. ^ "San Franciscans have been making avocado toast for more than 130 years". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  8. ^ "PDF" (PDF).
  9. ^ a b Orenstein, Jayne. "How the Internet became ridiculously obsessed with avocado toast". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  10. ^ https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/avocado-on-toast/
  11. ^ a b c Oyler, Lauren. "My Fruitful Search for the Origins of Avocado Toast". Broadly. Vice. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  12. ^ Goldfield, Hannah. "THE TREND IS TOAST". The New Yorker. Conde Nast. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  13. ^ "From unicorns to avocado toast, hipster fads jack up food prices". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  14. ^ Brown, Genevieve Shaw (September 8, 2014). "Why Avocado Toast Is the Hottest New Breakfast Food". ABC News. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  15. ^ "Avocado Bruschetta on Sweet Potato Toast - Australian Avocados". australianavocados.com.au.
  16. ^ "Avocado and Vegemite Toast - Australian Avocados". australianavocados.com.au.
  17. ^ "French Toast with Avocado & Shaved Parmesan - Australian Avocados". australianavocados.com.au.
  18. ^ "Avocado Toast Finger with Soft-Boiled Eggs - Australian Avocados". australianavocados.com.au.
  19. ^ "Avocado and Baked Beans on Toast - Australian Avocados". australianavocados.com.au.
  20. ^ "Avocado and Feta Smash on Toasted Rye - Australian Avocados". australianavocados.com.au.
  21. ^ "Hipster Avo Toast Recipe". www.joyfulhealthyeats.com.
  22. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/avocados-banned-environment-damage-sustainable-cafe-food-cooking-a8663526.html
  23. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/healthy-foods-that-are-ruining-the-environment/
  24. ^ https://www.metacritic.com/tv/rotten/season-2/episode-1-the-avocado-war
  25. ^ Salt, Bernard (16 October 2016). "Evils of the hipster cafe". The Australian. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  26. ^ Taylor, David (17 October 2016). "Millennials hit back at housing claims in 'smashed avocado' debate". ABC News. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  27. ^ Fitzsimmons, Caitlin (23 October 2016). "Avocado economics for first-home buyers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  28. ^ "The Smashed Avocado Generation". Broadsheet. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  29. ^ "Cafes offer discounted smashed avo to help millennials save for house". ABC News. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  30. ^ "Don't mess with our smashed avo". The Australian. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  31. ^ Millionaire says millennials should stop buying avocado in order to buy dream home David Reid, CNBC, 16 May 2017
  32. ^ Millionaire to Millennials: Your avocado toast addiction is costing you a house William Cummings, USA TODAY, May 16, 2017
  33. ^ 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
  34. ^ Millionaire to millennials: Lay off the avocado toast if you want a house Julia Horowitz, CNN Money, May 15, 2017
  35. ^ "'Don't buy $19 smashed avocado': Melbourne property tycoon hammers millennials over spending habits". 9News. 15 May 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  36. ^ "Here's how much avocado toast equates to a house in Ireland". newstalk.com. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  37. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (8 December 2017). "Will you be able to afford a flat if you stop buying avocado toast?". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2018.