Originally posted January 31, 2010
Nothing seems to be going my way lately. I really thought I was going to be able to get close to caught up over the last week and a half or so – and then last weekend I started to come down with gastroenteritis. Kind of ironic when you consider that, next to chicken soup, Jell-O is the ultimate American sick-room food, but over the past week I haven’t wanted to think about Jell-O, let alone eat it. I think as you read this blog entry, you’ll understand why it took me so long to write and post it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I embarked upon Jellied Avocado Ring. For one thing, I’m a little ambivalent about avocados. I find them confusing, fruit that tastes like a vegetable. I don’t eat them very often, and when I do it’s usually in the form of guacamole, with nachos. I just didn’t have a good sense of how well they would go with lime Jell-O, so I tried to be optimistic, and decided that this recipe could turn out to be okay.
So what did I do? I started myself off on the wrong foot by letting the avocados get a little overripe. (Like I said, I don’t know avocados very well…) Still, I soldiered on, buoyed by the idea that no matter how this turned out, I was going to plant the avocado pits and have four new friends like in the California Avocado Advisory Board ads I used to see in Seventeen magazine in the early 1980s. I mashed up the avocados as well as I could, and added them and a quarter-cup of mayonnaise to a quadruple batch of lime Jell-O that was salted and thickened. I started stirring:
This was a little discouraging. For some *ahem* unknown reason I was reminded of some drunken blow-outs kick-ass parties thrown by a certain C– W– that I had attended during my misspent youth. I kept stirring, sure it would get better. It didn’t:
Not only was the avocado just a little too chunky for this to be visually appealing, but also the mayonnaise would not be fully incorporated into the mixture and stubbornly remained in worrying little lumps. It began to dawn on me that this was going to be one of the more interesting Jell-Os to write about, and into the bundt pan it went.
Finally I had a Jell-O mold big enough for the bundt pan, and it had to be this one. I know what you’re thinking, so I’ll go ahead and say it – this came out looking like a green vomit mold. The real question was, would it taste like a green vomit mold?
I’m not sure how to describe the flavor. As I was eating it, it didn’t seem all that unpleasant, and yet I had to force myself to finish it. The lime Jell-O wasn’t too sweet. The avocado flavor wasn’t particularly objectionable, but the mayonnaise lumps were. As usual, none of it blended together at all well. The texture was a little creepy, maybe. It was difficult to imagine what place it could have in a meal. As Bryan put it, “This isn’t a 2 or a 3 [“nasties”, my old recipe rating system, not used in the reboot], this is a WTF.”
I’ll tell you what this reminded me of. Five years ago, I suffered an episode of idiopathic acute angle-closure glaucoma in my left eye. The condition is rare to begin with, and I didn’t have any of the common risk factors for it, so when it proved difficult to bring down the pressure in my eye, I was subjected to a battery of tests. One of them, ultrasound biomicroscopy, involved placing a sort of open-bottom cup on my eye (by fixing the lip of the cup under my eyelids,) filling the cup with saline solution, and running a vibrating ultrasound probe in the saline. (This generated some interesting pictures of the inside of my eyeball.) While I was going through it, it didn’t seem so terrible. I managed not to freak out, managed to stay calm even. My memories of it are not horrible. However, I never want to go through it again.
That’s sort of how I feel about Jellied Avocado Ring.
Despite my dictum against waste, I could not bring myself to eat any more of it. Luckily, I’ve come up with a rationalization for this. In my yoga classes, we’re told by the instructors that on the principle of ahimsa (nonviolence) we shouldn’t force ourselves to do poses that are uncomfortable or painful, that do us harm. I have decided that to force Bryan and myself to eat the nastier Jell-O dishes would be to cause us both to violate the principle of ahimsa – and, frankly, neither of our karmas can afford to take those hits.