How to Avoid “Avocado Hand”

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I’d like to think we’re ahead of the news curve, at least on botanical and home economics stories, but sometimes we miss something. I did not know there was such a thing as “avocado hand.”

Living in LA’s Silver Lake district we’ve witnessed, first hand, the nativity of the avocado toast phenomenon but we didn’t know about the bloody consequences. Apparently, knife skill challenged folks are cradling avocados in their hands and stabbing the knife into the pit to remove it. Meryl Streep fell victim to avocado hand back in 2012, though I’m less surprised by her injury than by the fact that she doesn’t have “people” to make avocado toast for her.

Root Simple reader Randi let me know that there’s a song by Swedish singer Jens Lekman about avocado hand:

I was slicing up an avocado
When you came up behind me
With your silent brand-new sneakers
Your reflection I did not see
It was the hottest day in August
And we were heading for the sea
For a second my mind started drifting

You put your arms around me
You put your arms around me
You put your arms around

Blood spraying on the kitchen sink
“What’s this?” I have time to think
I see the tip of my index finger
My mind is slowly creating a link
From your mouth speaks your lovely voice
The softest words ever spoken
“What’s broken can always be fixed
What’s fixed will always be broken”

You put your arms around me
You put your arms around me
You put your arms around me
You put your arms around

I must have passed out on the porch
Dreamt I was carried in a kangaroo’s pouch
When I wake up, I’m in the waiting room
On a dirty hospital couch
My hand is wrapped in toilet paper
And my body’s wrapped in debris
You’re sitting next to me reading a paper
I put your arm around me

For the record, though taste arbiters have long since proclaimed “peak avocado toast,” I’m still a fan. But I suggest keeping your hand out of the path of the blade when rolling your own avocado toast. Note the annoying animated gif at the top of this post for the pit removal method that will keep you out of the emergency room.

The Museum of the American Cocktail

We get a lot of press releases here at Root Simple. I cast most into Gmail’s purgatorial nether regions but when one came in from the Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) I knew that I had to investigate further.

MOTAC operates out of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Luckily for us Angelinos, MOTAC sponsors weekly events in our fair city and is rumored to be opening a San Pedro venue next year.

I’ve attended two free events in downtown LA, one a tasting of the spirits made by a Central Coast distillery, Calwise Spirits, and another tasting of the many offerings of the venerable French distillery Combier which still uses a facility designed by Pierre Eiffel. Note to self: remember to spit out the spirits when you do a tasting of 20 bottles or the next day won’t be all that productive.

If you’re interested in MOTAC’s Los Angeles events you can sign up at the bottom of their page here. As a generalist (to a fault) I have really enjoyed meeting MOTAC’s expert cocktail enthusiasts.

Recipes From the Rye Baker

Berlin Rye. Photo: Stanley Ginsberg/The Rye Baker.

A number of you, our dear readers, said you’d have liked to have attended the rye class this past weekend taught by Stanley Ginsberg if only you weren’t thousands of miles away. Short of putting Stanley on tour, the next best thing is to take a look at his detailed rye blog which I neglected to mention in my last post. There are enough recipes there to keep you busy for months. The bread recipe we made on Saturday was the Berlin rye pictured above. You can find that recipe here.

I’ve had to take a break from baking, but when I get back to it I’m going to specialize in rye exclusively. Why? You just can’t find a decent rye loaf for sale even in the big city. You gotta make it yourself!

The Rye Revolution

At last the rye revolution has arrived! We have nothing to lose but our fake supermarket rye loaves. I’m happy to say that the Los Angeles Bread Bakers is hosting a class with the rye expert, Stanley Ginsberg tomorrow, Saturday the 7th of October. There’s still space in the class if you’re interested. Head here to sign up. If you live elsewhere or can’t make it, Ginsberg has penned what I believe to be the definitive book on rye baking, The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America. In the book Ginsberg covers every imaginable rye recipe from around the world, from loaves to crackers to scones.

Since it’s hard to find good rye loaf even in a big city, learning to bake your own rye really pays off. The unique chemistry of rye, especially when leavened with a sourdough starter, also means that a rye loaf stays fresh longer. Due to all that’s happened in the past year I’ve had to put baking on hold. When I get back into it I’m going to focus exclusively on rye.

110 A Report from the 2017 National Heirloom Expo

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On the podcast this week are three interviews I recorded at the 7th annual National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California in the first week of September 2017. The organizers of the expo, Baker Creek Seeds, hold a press conference in the midst of the fair and that gave me the chance to talk to some really interesting folks including:

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.