The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Adventures With Avocado

October 9, 2006

Adventures With Avocado

I saw a television ad today for Applebee's staring Tyler Florence. Me, and thousands of women across the United States (I took an informal poll) agree--Tyler Florence is easy on the eyes. The fact that he cooks, just a bonus.

Which reminded me....

Last summer, I had an adventure involving Tyler Florence, a sharp object, and avocados.

Tyler Florence was in the Merchandise Mart giving a cooking demonstration and signing his new cookbook. A group of women in the office and I played hooky for an hour to go watch him cook.

We were all excited to go, but ironically, when we got there, none of us dared to go to the front of the room where Tyler was. We sort of all just hung around the back, giggling like junior high girls. Suddenly, I was twelve again, wanting the cute, popular boy just to notice me.

I guess I wasn't alone in this, because all of the other women in the room were hanging back. Tyler's handlers finally had to round us all up with an encouraging, "Go ahead, go up there, he really likes it when people do."

So I did. As he started another demonstration dish, I somehow ended up front and center in the room. The demonstration theme was Mexican--Tyler made a cold tomato soup, salsa, and then guacamole.

Apparently, and I did not know this at the time, there's a method to cutting avocado. Well, that's what Tyler told us anyway. You're supposed to hold the avocado in the palm of your hand and, with a knife, make a cut in the avocado until the blade lands in the seed. And then you bring the blade around the avocado, essentially slicing the thing in half. Then you remove the knife, twist one half of the avocado and end up with one half of avocado with a seed and another without. To remove the seed, you embed the blade in the seed, twist gently and lift.

Tyler deftly demonstrates this, making it seem so simple. Meanwhile, I'm staring at this demonstration, fascinated. Who knew that's the way to slice avocados? I'm not 100% sure, but I think my mouth may have been hanging open at one point--I was that absorbed.

And then Tyler goes, "Who wants to give this a try?"

We all look at one another. An awkward silence ensues.

He looks around the room and goes, "How about you?"

I look to see who he's talking about and he says again, "How about you?"

And, because I am an eloquent, intelligent, young woman, I reply, "Who, me?"

"Yeah, " he says, "Come on up."

"OK," I say, much too enthusiastically. Meanwhile, my head is racing. Tyler Florence just picked me. ME! Oh please, oh please, oh please don't let me humiliate myself.

And then I was up there with Tyler Florence, warm and friendly, beside me. Tyler hands me an avocado and a knife. I look at the fruit, I look at the knife, and everything he has just said about avocados flies out of my head.

"Be careful not to cut yourself," Tyler says helpfully. Thanks, I think, you're sweet, but you just made me more nervous. And the thought is followed immediately by, I need a grip. I'm a mature, normal, intelligent woman. I can slice an avocado for crying out loud!

I take the knife and, quite literally, take a stab. The blade slides in gently. I bring it around the fruit. And, to my surprise, it works. I have two avocado halves. I breathe again. I don't slice my fingers open and bleed all over the counter. I don't blither mindlessly to Tyler Florence. I think, when I was done, I actually got a round of applause.

I admit, I was oddly flattered that afternoon. I know my worth is not based on whether any man, semi-celebrity or not, chooses me. I know that celebrities are "just like one of us." I know that Tyler Florence doesn't really know who I am, so his choice is not a reflection of what he thinks for me at all. I logically know all this, but because I'm still about 12 years old inside, I kept chanting in my head, He picked me, he picked me, he picked me. I win, I win, I win.

Yeah, I know... kinda goofy.

That weekend, I bought a bunch of avocados and made guacamole. While trying to slice the avocados open, the knife slipped, I sliced my hand, and bled all over my kitchen counter.

A Picture of Tyler and Me And The Avocados. See, I didn't make this up at all:

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