Food in Focus: Why We Love the Avocado

Food in Focus: Why We Love the Avocado

The international avocado market blew up from 2012-2016. In fact, the exports increased as much as 30% in some areas — and no, it’s not just because of Millennials and their avocado toast. Here’s why the fruit (yes, we said fruit!) is so sought-after.

First: A Little U.S. History

In 1914, the US banned the import of Mexican avocados into the continental United States as a way to stop the seed weevil from destroying American farms. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange began growing and selling the fruit instead. However, they couldn’t keep up with the demand of the whole country. For decades, only states on the west coast with fresh fruit markets were able to enjoy the creamy fruit.

What’s in a Name?

In the years following the ban, the fruit became known as “alligator pears.” The thick skin was bumpy and various shades of green, like the reptile, and the shape was that of a pear. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange worked to change the name to avocado, thinking that the exoticism of the name would lend to its reputation as a luxury fruit.

 

Touchdown, Guacamole!

In 1997, the US started to slowly lift the ban. But there were still hurdles to overcome. Many Americans didn’t understand how to properly eat an avocado. So, the growers launched a campaign to educate Americans. One of the best facets of this campaign was the Super Bowl/Guacamole Bowl recipe contest. The growers’ PR firm asked various NFL teams for their best guac recipes. The firm suggested that the best recipe might predict the winner of the Super Bowl. The plan worked, and Americans fell in love with guacamole. In fact, we consume 8 million pounds of it every Super Bowl Sunday.

 

Health Benefits

Study after study confirms that the avocado is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Just a 3.5 ounce serving contains Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, E, A, B1, B2 and B3. It also contains other nutrients, like folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc and phosphorus. There are 160 calories in this one serving, with only 2 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of healthy fats and 2 grams of protein.

All of these nutrients lead to different health benefits. Avocados promote weight loss. They contain low amounts of saturated fat and curb hunger. The fruit improves overall heart health by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Avocados also have anti-aging benefits from being packed with antioxidants. And they even improve eye health.

 

Let’s Have a Toast

Chefs love to use avocados in recipes. Their creaminess is great for balancing acidity or spice. The avocado flavor is delicate enough not to overwhelm any other ingredients.

And, of course, there’s avocado toast. It’s a simple, filling snack or breakfast food that is quick to prepare and scrumptious to boot. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and whatever other topping you’d like. A fried or soft-boiled egg would be perfect. Or if it’s too early to think about making your own, swing by Market Table for a breakfast featuring  our tasty avocado toast.

 

From the way sales have increased each year, it is clear that, when it comes to the avocado, Americans have no problem in making up for lost time.

 

Text by Jennie Tippett

Crock-Pots After This Is Us

Crock-Pots After This Is Us

Crock-Pot like the one in This Is Us on table next to dish of braised beefIf you watch This Is Us, you’ve most likely bawled your eyes out as the beloved Pearson family house burned down in a fire caused by a Crock-Pot, which ultimately killed everybody’s favorite dad, Jack Pearson. After wiping away their last tears, viewers who remembered that they had a slow cooker in their house froze. Some of you even immediately threw it out in fear of a similar tragedy happening in your house. But, was that really necessary?

Almost immediately after the episode aired, the Crock-Pot brand opened a Twitter account for their slow-cookers. The first tweet mourned the events in the episode before clarifying that there was no need to worry about having a slow cooker in the house. They even added that they hadn’t received consumer complaints similar to the events in the episode in nearly fifty years.

Does this mean Crock-Pots aren’t dangerous at all? Not exactly, but it’s not likely that the danger will present itself from a random fuse. In a report on slow-cooker accidents between 1997-2010, most of the incidents occurred from a mishandling of the equipment — i.e., people kept dropping hot food on themselves. So, what happened in the Pearson home is a highly unlikely situation, even if it brought us to buy even more boxes of tissues to wipe away tears during our weekly sobfest.

And, honestly, do you really want to give up that Crock-Pot? You can make some seriously yummy things in a slow cooker. Chicken and vegetables, garlic shrimp, mac and cheese and pinto beans for the vegetarians–there are a variety of meals you can cook up for lunch or dinner (or even breakfast, honestly). But what about dessert, you ask? Well, there’s even a recipe for making the Latin American dessert Happy woman uses a Crock-Pot to cook chicken and vegetablesdulce de leche. If you haven’t tried it, you’re seriously missing out and should pretty much drop whatever you’re doing and make some in your Crock-Pot — provided that you haven’t chucked it out the window yet.

Still, delicious food aside, it’s easy to be scared after experiencing the Pearsons’ tragedy (through the screen, I mean). Luckily, the USDA has safety precautions to make you feel better about the Crock-Pot in your house. Since I know what part you’re all worried about, I’ll only mention one: the USDA actually deems it safe to leave a Crock-Pot on a low setting when you leave the house. So, the chances of your Crock-Pot that’s turned off to suddenly blow up…well, I think it’s safe to say that This Is Not Likely.

 

Text by Anna Khan

5 Tips for Throwing a Fantastic Super Bowl Party

5 Tips for Throwing a Fantastic Super Bowl Party

Let’s be honest: the best thing about the Super Bowl has nothing to do with sports. Football’s just an excuse to eat and drink with our friends while the game plays in the background. Here are a few tips for throwing the perfect viewing party for football fans and food fans alike.

 

Decorations

Snacks on table decorated like a football fieldIf your party is rooting for a particular team, feel free to decorate with your team’s colors and logos. You can also make impartial Super Bowl decorations. For instance, a green plastic table cloth and masking tape can transform your tabletop into a football field.

 

 

Themed Cocktails

To stay in line with your Super Bowl decorations, you can paint mason jars to look like footballs so that your guest can gulp down a glass of team spirit. And speaking of spirits, why not stir up a themed cocktail? Or you can give your game day brew Super Bowl Sunday superpowers with a beer-margarita or lime and beer cocktail.

 

Party Games

Guests play games at Super Bowl party

Don’t Say It is a Super-Bowl-party-perfect game that doesn’t require a wealth of knowledge about football. To play, give each of your guests a plastic whistle at the beginning of the party. Choose a word or phrase that is taboo, and, if you can catch someone saying the word, you get to take their whistle. Whoever has the most whistles at the end wins. There are also games centered around the Super Bowl itself. You can place bets on how many touchdowns are scored, guess which commercials will air or what songs are on the set for halftime. Also, these printable Super Bowl bingo cards will help get all of your guests in the game — even if they’re not into football games.

 

Cute American bulldog puppy in jersey with plush footballPuppy Bowl

If you get tired of football, screen the Puppy Bowl in another room so that guests can walk away for a puppy break without interrupting the football fans in the other room. You can place bets on the Puppy Bowl, like how many times the referee has to call a time-out for a clean up on the field or which puppy gets MVP. Want to keep the kids entertained? Print these precious Puppy Bowl Trading Cards, or make a card for your own pup. The best part of this game day pick-me-up is that all of the puppies featured are rescues that are ready to be adopted.

 

Have the Best FoodBeer, wings and sliders for a Super Bowl party

Ultimately, the game of throwing the best party is really about serving the best food. If you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, Market Table has some Super Bowl specials that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. We offer buffalo chicken dip, wings and burgers, not to mention wine and beer. Looking for something a little more hearty? Our catering menu offers sliders, sandwich trays, hors d’oeuvres and desserts sure to make your guests cheer, no matter the score.

 

Text by Katherine Polcari