One of the classic memes of fatherhood is the enthusiastic welcome home Dad receives at the end of a workday. In the cartoon version, Dad is literally knocked over with love as kids and dogs express their unbounded joy that he has returned once again to the family nest to share his wisdom, warmth and humor with a loving brood.
For the most part, I work out of the house. My morning and evening commute is a grueling 10 feet between the home office and the kitchen. I don’t get swarmed with love. I get people wondering what’s for dinner and why isn’t it on the table and can I have $10 for school tomorrow.
The only time I ever get overwhelmed with love, a physical outpouring of joy and devotion that threatens to knock me off my feet, a veritable native dance of jumping and arm waving enthusiasm…is when I make guacamole. Even then, the object of affection is the mulcajete full of green stuff that I have to hold over my head to get it to the table.
And that’s not easy. A mulcajete is a large mortar and pestle carved out of volcanic rock. It’s cool, but it’s heavy. You do not want to drop this thing on your toe and certainly not on your head. Culturally, it comes from Mexico, though it is just one expression of the mortar and pestle that comes in many forms around the world. They are all similar in nature; you put stuff into the bowl and bash it up. Being a rock, the mulcajete is quite an effective basher.
This elegant rock was a birthday gift from the family. I dutifully set out making guacamole with it. After bashing it all together, I set the whole thing on the table and turned to get something to drink with my chips and guac. When I returned to the table, it was all gone and there was an outcry for more.
Since then, whenever I get the mulcajete out of the cabinet, my family goes through a werewolf-like transformation. Though instead of deadly beasts, they turn into a pack of coyotes yip-yipping at my heels. As her last bit of humanity passes from her body, BMW reminds everyone to leave some for me.
And then she tears the bag of chips open with her teeth and growls at the kids.
Chef Dad’s Making Guacamole
3 large cloves of garlic
Juice of half a lime (maybe more depending on how juicy your lime is)
2 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground cumin
Handful of cilantro
Generous pour of good extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (they’re important ingredients)
2 large, ripe avocadoes sectioned so it all fits into mulcajete
The trick here is to first make a base out of all the other ingredients, and then bash the avocadoes into that base. Put everything except the avocadoes into the mortar and pestle. Start by crushing the garlic cloves enough so that you can work with them. Then bash everything up, moving the mass around. The advantage of the mulcajete for this is that it is a rough surface so that any movement does some grinding.
Eventually, the mass will be relatively smooth (though still textured) and a uniform green color. Toss in the avocadoes and repeat. You should end up with something that looks like the picture above. Give it a taste to adjust seasonings if necessary.
Then fire a couple of warning shots to clear a path to the table and grab some chips before the coyotes regroup.