Any apartment-dwelling millennial (avocado toast = no money for mortgage) knows the horrible truth about avocados — they’re getting more expensive. After throwing it all away, forgoing home ownership and accidentally killing luxury industries like paper napkins, marmalade, and Nascar in favor of spending all of our money on avocado toast (you did that, right? It wasn’t just the Boomer media getting hysterical over how we’re all broke and in debt and can’t afford to do…anything?) avocados have only gotten pricier, and now some restaurants are turning to an alternative when making their guacamole – something cash-strapped millenials with an avo obsession ought to pay attention to.
First off, avocados really *are* more expensive. Apparently, compared to last year their price has skyrocketed 129 percent. They’re at their highest price ever for this time of year over the past decade or more, and compared to July of 2018, a 25-pound box of avos now costs $84.25 instead of $37. I guess that’s why Oprah started growing her own avocados!
Unfortunately, the cause of this dramatic price increase does seem to be, in part, our insatiable appetite for avocados. There just aren’t enough being grown right now to meet demand, and while the Mexican government has reported that production of avocados has actually dipped, demand in the US has only grown.
One way restaurants are coping is by making mock guacamole. Mockamole, if you will. Though many restaurants and taquerias are apparently swapping mockamole for the real stuff without telling their customers, over at LA Taco they made a startling discovery. Aside from a slight difference in texture, the faux guacamole pretty much tastes exactly like your classic taqueria guac.
The fake guacamole is made with calabacitas, small Mexican summer squash similar to zucchini. Journalist Javier Cabral, who you may know as one of the taco scouts for Las Crónicas del Taco/Taco Chronicles on Netflix, actually made a batch of the fake guac himself and did a side-by-side taste test. His conclusion? The fake guacamole, made with Mexican squash, blistered jalapeno, tomatillos, cilantro, and garlic, is “bright, spicy, rich, and very satisfying.” Cabral says that he’s eaten literally more than a thousand tacos this year in his research for the show, and that he was nearly fooled by the stuff.
While we certainly don’t condone doing a swap like this in a restaurant setting without disclosing the fact that what’s coming with our tacos isn’t actually guacamole, it seems like having more restaurants make this swap could actually be a good thing. For one, Mexican squash is, like zucchini and summer squash, dirt cheap in the summer because of how prolifically it grows. That means not only can you save money by using it instead of avocados, but also that maybe we can stop creating a market so imbalanced that Mexico sends all of its avos to the US, leaving its own citizens without one of their staple foods.
If you’re interested in trying the faux guacamole yourself you can find the recipe here. I think I know what I’m stocking up on at the farmer’s market this weekend, and it ain’t avocados!
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