As many of you know, it’s avocado season practically everywhere around the globe. Here in Haiti, the season is at its peak. These fruits – yes avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable – can be seen everywhere there is a street merchant, and most definitely almost daily at my own family table, for my dad is obsessed with this fruit.
I have yet to meet someone who loves avocado more than him. When I was a child he would put on a silly face to ask me “wap manje zabèlbòk, Annick?” – will you eat avocado Annick – whenever avocado was served at dinnertime, a question I would say yes to without even thinking. I am almost sure today that dad was hoping for a negative answer on my part each time, however. With a family of six, who can blame him? There were simply too many candidates for one avocado.
We serve avocado with most of our meals. We slice it up and sprinkle salt and pepper on top, and sometimes may add a few drops of limejuice to the mix. There is one particular dish that must always be served with avocado on the side: maïs moulu (cornmeal). If you think you will serve maïs at my house without avocado, think again. You may end up with a riot on your hands at the table. I am not joking.
Another of my favorite ways of eating this fruit is Haiti’s famous “pen ak zaboka.” Simply put, it is avocado with bread. Nothing more, nothing less. And with some “pen rale” it is even better!
I know this will surprise many of my Haitian readers, but I first tried pen ak zaboka about seven years ago. Yes, it took me that long to try it! I didn’t know what I was missing out on until we got stuck in traffic for hours after a weekend at the beach. We had left at the crack of dawn expecting to eat breakfast when we got to Port-au-Prince, and thus had no food with us. Luckily, my aunt spotted both a bread and an avocado seller. Breakfast was served. I was the only one of the bunch who had never tried this combination before, and since I was starving, I had no other option but to dig in. To my surprise, my palate was delighted.
With all these avocado stories, I don’t need to tell you that my palate is happy now that the season is at its peak. There is, however, a dark cloud shadowing this happiness this year. Well let’s call it what it is, there is a tall avocado tree shadowing this happiness; the one from my picture.
This year, for the first time in years, our avocado tree has dozens of fruits hanging from its branches. Great news, right? Wrong! They are hanging from a tree that decided to grow as tall as the sky! I have been scratching my head trying to figure out how we will get to the top of that tree. When we first noticed them almost two months ago, my aunt and I jokingly decided that we should ask to borrow the electrical company’s lift and pay the driver with avocadoes. Imagine the amount of pen ak zaboka he could eat. That’s a great deal, right?
Go try it first before answering that question. The quick and easy recipe, if I can call it this way, is below.
- Fresh avocado (preferably at room temperature)
- Freshly baked bread
- Salt & Pepper (optional)
- Slice the bread
- Top with avocado slices. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top (optional)
Note: I sometimes spread some butter on the bread first. I think it’s heavenly.