Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Avocadoes and advocaat for advocates.

I misread the word advokaat as avocado the other evening, in a moment of blurry-eyed confusion that made me realise it was time to go to sleep. Funny, though, that the words are so similar, I thought.

Avocado is one of my favourite foods, and one of my favourite food words, and was the subject of a post quite some time ago. Advokaat I knew as an eggy beverage with a Dutch heritage - but that is about all I knew about it. According to the dictionary (OED) the word is a short form of advocatenborrel meaning, roughly, the drink of lawyers. This sounded a bit far-fetched to me. Why egg-brandy drinks and the legal profession?

Another story is that Dutch colonists in Suriname used to make a beverage with avocadoes, and took their taste for it back to the Netherlands when they returned. Unfortunately their were no avocadoes in their home country at the time, but the texture of the old-fashioned thick drinks of posset and syllabub was similar. The original Aztec name of the fruit was ahuacatl which to the Spanish sounded almost the same as abogado, which means lawyer (hence, advocate). The coincidence of sounds, it is said, led the Dutch to associate the drink with the legal profession, and the dictionary to believe them. So – my confusion was reasonable, was it not?

Here is a nice 1960’s retro dish for you:

Avocado Pears with Prawns
Serves 6.
3 ripe avocado pears
6 crisp lettuce leaves
paprika pepper
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons double cream
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
dash Worcestershire sauce
juice of ½ lemon
8 oz.peeled prawns.
Buy fully ripe avocado pears – they should feel very soft, especially at the narrow end. Prepare the sauce and set aside. In a small mixing basin, combine together the mayonnaise, cream, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice, and mix well. Add the prepared prawns, and chill until ready to serv.
Using a knife cut each pear in half lengthwise and remove the stone. Rub the cut surface of the six halves with the cut side of a lemon, to prevent them from discolouring. Place each half on a washed crisp lettuce leaf and set on a plate.
Spoon the prawn mixture into the centre of each pear half, filling the hollow. Sprinkle with paprika pepper, and serve.
The Times, March 8, 1967.

Quotation for the Day …

[Avocado growers] denied publicly and indignantly, the insidious, slanderous rumors that avocados were aphrodisiac. Sales immediately mounted
Waverley Root.

1 comment:

valm said...

I remember Mum enjoying a tipple of advocaat and lemonade & I used to think that the bottle was such an exotic shape!