The last avo in Cape Town
Cape Town experienced a local crisis that only recently has been resolved – the shortage of avocados. If a reader from outside SA is reading this post he or she is quite unlikely to have their heart miss a beat because of this but let me tell you that avocados are a serious matter in this African country.
South African eat avocados, or “avos”, with everything. They eat them on sandwiches with salt or lemon and pepper, they eat them on their own. They add them to salads and prepare guacamole. It’s even an ingredient on pizzas which certainly makes Mario Italiano (or whoever invented pizza) turn in his grave. Last but not least, avos are a very local (?) yet important sushi ingredient. No wonder, South Africans started to feel a little bit uneasy when around two months ago an avocado shortage started. The prices of the delicacy went up to the heights never experienced before. Additionally, customers in restaurants started to be informed about the lack of avos and more than a few tears have been shed over “NO AVO” signs in windows. Even Woolworths, known as the place where middle class shop and where cravings are always met, was touched by the crisis and left an apology note for the shortcoming in their stores that you can see on the above picture.
I must admit that after coming to South Africa I wasn’t immediately taken by this butter-like fruit but with time I started to get used to it. I’m still incapable, and in truth simply unwilling, to eat it on its own. However, I learnt to appreciate it as an addition to certain dishes. One also can’t underestimate the health benefits of avocados. They’re a natural source of vitamins, contain potassium, heart-healthy acids, fibre and have numerous other health benefits that you can google in your own time if you’re still not convinced about the fact that it’s just good to eat them.
Avos, as everything else, have their disadvantages too. The most irritating one is the difficulty of managing to eat them when they’re just right. Usually when you buy a bag of avos they’re not ripe enough and you have to wait for them to mature. You don’t have much time to catch them when they’re perfect, though, as just a day after they reach ripeness they start to get mushy and brownish. The solution to this problem is buying “ready to eat” avocados, but then two pieces can be even twice as expensive as a bag of ten.
Naturally, the avo crisis is a first world problem that most South Africans couldn’t care less about. They experience daily problems such as general lack of essentials due to unemployment and resulting poverty, just to put things into perspective. Maybe it is a good lesson for the privileged to know that you can’t always get what you want.