Monday, August 06, 2012

For the War Effort: Eat Calavos.

The Calavo growers of California put out a recipe booklet in the 1940’s to promote their product, and help the war effort a at the same time. Invoking patriotism as a marketing method? or am I being a tad cynical?

Firstly – what is a Calavo? It is a CALifornian AVOcado. The name was trademarked by the Californian Avocado Growers Association decades ago, perhaps in the hope that clever marketing would ensure it became the generic name for the fruit. It is not an unrealistic hope, after all it did happen in the case of the ‘Chinese Gooseberry,’ which became ‘Kiwi Fruit.’

 The booklet is called Calavo On Your Wartime Menus : 14 nutritious, time-saving, "point"-saving dishes made with California's finest avocado. It sings the nutritional praises of the avocado, notes that it is very easy to eat, and that it is plentiful, and then gets to its usefulness to the war effort.

Calavo avocados are plentiful. Unrationed! … They help “stretch” meat points. Calavo is high in food energy and makes many a filling, tasty dish.
They help “stretch” butter points – for Calavo is butter-smooth in texture, makes a grand spread for toast and crackers.
Enjoy Calavos as often as you like. There are so many ways – served alone as a half-shell … as a spread for war workers’ lunches … to replace rationed canned fruits … for “he-man” salads … entrees … desserts.

I must admit I was intrigued by the “he-man” salads. I assume that the following is one that could be so described, although the inclusion of sherry sounds a bit girly. Perhaps a dash of whisky could be substituted, by those she-women lucky enough to have a real he-man to feed? The recipe does not specify that the fat should be skimmed off the broth before it is used - or maybe ‘he-men’ are not afraid of a salad (aspic? brawn? terrine?) that is a bit greasy.

Veal Aspic.
2 cups diced Calavo
2 lbs. veal shank
1 medium sized peeled onion
2 medium sized peeled carrots
¾ cups chopped sweet pickles
2 ¼ cups broth from veal
¼ tsp. onion salt
Table salt
2 tsp. sherry wine
Cover veal with cold, salted water, add onion, and cook slowly until meat is tender (about 2 ½ to 3 hours). Add carrots for last 30 to 40 minutes cooking. When meat is tender, lift from liquid. Strain liquid and measure, and, if necessary, boil down to required amount. Dice carrots and veal and discard onion. Combine broth, onion salt, salt to taste, and wine, and chill until broth starts to congeal. Add diced Calavo, veal, carrots, and pickle, and blend lightly. Pour into an oiled mold and chill overnight. Serve as an entrée, or mold individually for salads. Serves 6 to 8.

And also from the book, a very manly avocado ‘mayonnaise’:

A sauce to serve with fresh tomatoes or vegetable salad and such hot or cold vegetables as asparagus and artichokes.
1 tbs. lemon or lime juice; 2 tbs. evaporated milk; ½ tsp salt; 1 tsp. prepared mustard; 6 drops Tabasco sauce; ¾ cup sieved Calavo.
Add lemon or lime juice to milk and beat well. Add salt, mustard, Tabasco sauce, and blend thoroughly. Add sieved Calavo and beat. May be kept in ice-box two or three days. Cover with lemon or lime juice and salt to prolong its fresh appearance.

Quotation for the Day.

The avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise.
David Fairchild.

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