Sometimes, food trends get out of hand. Take, for instance, the kale chip era, when we really tried to convince ourselves that nearly burnt leaves could satisfy our snack cravings. Or there’s the annual autumnal nightmare in which absolutely everything must be imbued with pumpkin spice. These foods aren’t bad, per se, but they’re so overhyped that they lose virtually all appeal, soon leaving us unsatisfied and waiting on the next new trend when we will, for some reason, consume only oat milk lattes or turn innocent cauliflower into pizza crust.
Over the past decade, avocados have taken over breakfast menus, bastardizing simple slices of toast that want nothing to do with the green gunk. Hear me out: I don’t have anything against avocados. They’re fine. Sometimes I add them to a salad, and I enjoy guacamole as an appetizer just like everybody else. But our society’s absolute obsession with not just avocado toast but avocados in general has gotten out of hand, and someone has to speak out. I’m willing to be that someone.
To put it in simple terms, avocados taste good because they’re fatty. Despite living in the twenty-first century, our bodies still think we’re hunting and gathering, expending enormous amounts of energy just to pick berries or to kill the occasional bison. For our ancestors long ago, the amount of fat found in an avocado was a gold mine of nutrition, which undoubtedly made it unbelievably appealing and worth eating in its entirety on the spot.
These days, though, you can find inexpensive sources of fat nearly everywhere. In fact, it’s much more difficult to avoid excess fat than it is to get enough of it. Many of these fats are less than healthy for regular consumption, but others are nutritious and taste great. Olives, salmon, walnuts, sardines… I could go on forever. But for some reason, the avocado has emerged as America’s favorite healthy fat—so much so that it has now become a viable target for cartels in countries where it’s grown.
I think it’s time we ask ourselves: Are avocados really that good? Or do we as a society just lack good taste? Because here’s the truth: Avocados have basically no flavor to them. I’ve heard them described as “creamy” and “buttery,” but those aren’t really descriptors of flavor as much as they are descriptors of texture. Sure, avocados do have a lovely texture to them, but on the flavor front, they’re about as bland a fruit as you can find. It really makes me wonder if all you avocado lovers out there just want permission to eat mashed-up baby food on toast for breakfast.
Since the avocado toast trend caught on, avocados now appear in a variety of dishes that they shouldn’t have anything to do with. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again here: Avocados absolutely, unequivocally do not belong in sushi. It’s not a matter of it not being traditional—it’s about it not being good. Avocados do not have a place on a fast food burger menu. And avocados should never, ever be used to replace a sandwich bun. I can’t believe that has to be said, but apparently, that’s the world we live in now.
All the diehard avocado lovers out there, I wish I could introduce you to a wider world of healthy fats. I wish I could make you sardine toast and share a bowl of beautiful, unpitted Kalamata olives with you. I wish we could get together and lovingly prepare a luxurious, creamy cashew sauce to pour over our pasta dishes. But most of all, I wish you would stop driving up avocado demand so this unremarkable fruit isn’t staring me in the face every time I step foot in a restaurant that serves brunch.
I’m not suggesting we stop eating avocados completely. Honestly, I do love an avocado-based chocolate smoothie, and sometimes, it’s just what you need to bulk up a light salad. But let’s just be honest with ourselves. Those of us who want to put avocado “on everything” just have bland taste. That’s okay. But it’s time to stop pretending that this obsession with avocados is, for most of us, justified or even, frankly, sane.
In February of 2022, avocado imports from Mexico were halted due to a credible death threat against a U.S. safety inspector, per CNN. In 2019, The Guardian called avocados the “new conflict commodity.” People are literally dying to feed the U.S. obsession with avocados. If the ubiquity of avocado toast on menus all over the country isn’t a sign that we’ve been led astray, the actual violence stemming from the booming avocado trade should be a sign that our society’s avocado frenzy has gone way, way too far. And for what? Healthy green butter? We can do better.