a writerly approach to guacamole

October 3, 2009 at 5:40 pm (thinking, vegan living) ()

3930562108_f07c8dec17Everyone on the internet is interviewing Jesse Bullington these days, with more to come, due to the imminent release of his keen debut novel, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart. The book is causing quite the ruckus in the world of literary reviews, and so not wanting to be a Molly-Come-Lately, I figured I better jump on the bandwagon and talk to Mr. Bullington about, well, something. Yet since Jesse is one of my best friends, and also my next door neighbor, I’ve already talked to him at length about The Grossbarts, so for VeganMoFo I’ve decided to interview him about guacamole, instead.


Q: Your face is too terrible. How do you prevent hairs from falling into your guacamole?

A: I have it on rather good authority that my face is nothing of the sort but I suppose I’ll humor you: Macomb Evelyn Jackson’s Muttonchop Bibs are available by mail order for any concerned gentlemen.

Q: When is the best time to eat guacamole?


Q: What ingredients do other people put in guacamole that you find to be wrong or nonsensical?

A: Mayonnaise. Even imagining James Mason enunciating the word in Lolita fails to soften the blow–one may as well drain a boil into the bowl. That said, I’m a bit of a purist–anything beyond avocado, lemon, salt, peppers, spices, and occasionly garlic and/or tomato strikes me as being overkill.

Q: What do you feel are common guacamole-related mistakes?

A: Like thinking it’s a pear in leather armor? Or like keeping the seed in the bowl to prevent it from turning brown? (This is a common myth! Alton Brown debunks it somewhere in his “dip” episode so at the end of here, and then here. But Jesse’s recipe (following) is better than his. Sorry Alton!)

Q: How do you feel about nutritional yeast in guacamole?

A: The same way I feel about nooch in every dish–are you really going to use that much?

Q: What about mayonnaise?

A: How could you not forsee this being included in your what-not-to-guac section? Na-nay-naise.

Q: Is there ever a time someone is making dinner and you feel that guacamole would be an inappropriate appetizer or side dish?

It hasn’t happened yet.

Q: How do you make your guacamole?

-five avocados of appropriate softness (I tend to go for three really ripe ones and one or two that are the slightest bit firmer)
-one lemon
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-white pepper
-random spices as I see fit
For pleasantly spicy guac add to this:
-chiltepan pepper and/or
-One or two large, fresh jalapenos or fresno chilis

Wash the exterior of all produce, including the avoacados because we are all OCD. Slice the avocados in half from top to bottom, removing the seed in that cool fashion Molly knows (it’s Alton’s! See above). Remove avocado from skins and place into bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Quarter a lemon and squeeze one quarter onto salty avocado, then set to mashing with a fork or a pestle.

Stop when the guac is still pretty chuncky and add another pinch of salt, as well as pinches of pepper and garlic and onion powder, and then squeeze the juice of another lemon quarter onto the guac. This is when you should add a pinch of chiltepan flakes or a diced hot pepper, de-seeded depending on how hot you want it, or a de-seeded tomato or two (OK, time out. Editorial aside: in my opinion this guacamole is so much better without peppers and tomatoes– they mask the taste of the avocado! Include them at your risk). Resume mashing, or mixing if you prefer a chunkier guac, and taste–as if you haven’t been tasting the whole time.

Add more salt, pepper, powders to taste in small increments–I usally use an entire lemon, but it’s best to add in wee little quartered increments to prevent overseasoning. Same goes for other additions like hot peppers or tomato–guacamole is very forgiving of late game additions, but few people have an extra avocado on hand to add if things get too salty or spicy. Enjoy with chips, on a salad, or straight out of the bowl with your fingers.

guac done

Thanks Jesse!

Alright, faithful readers, MoFoers, and Spambots: you should all be getting excited about the release of Jesse’s book–really, I’m not just saying that because he is my friend–and you should also be excited about applying his guac methodology. Seriously, he convinced me on the lemon-over-lime thing. I was an unbeliever, but he showed me the way. Anyways, I’ll probably take tomorrow off for MoFo-ing, but Monday I will come back atcha with the best recipe for refrigerator pickles I’ve ever tasted– maybe the best pickles I’ve ever tasted, ever. Excited? Of course you are.



  1. Selena said,

    Guac is appropriate all the time, I have to agree!

  2. Jeni Treehugger said,

    Hahahahaha – that was ACE.
    People who don’t like guac are freaks and I try to avoid them.

  3. Raechel said,

    Molly, I actually agree with you that spicy peppers mask the flavor! Guac is one of the few foods that I prefer sans spice, except for maybe some garlic powder. I like tomatoes in it sometimes, though I think it’s just fine without ’em, too.

  4. John said,

    I never really liked guac until I tasted this recipe. I still don’t often find guac that I enjoy- but Jesse’s has always been a winner. Wonderfully enough, chips and guac also goes perfectly with beer. Though a nice cuba libre, margarita, or mojito will do the trick as well.

  5. Jesse Bullington said,

    @ Raech–if you had something to say about peppers in my guac you could have just said something, to me, in private, INSTEAD OF TELLING EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET ON SOME BLOG THAT I’D FIND OUT ABOUT LATER. Booooooooooooooo.

    Thanks for the interview, Molly!

  6. molly said,

    Some blog? SOME BLOG? Get the fuck out! After THAT remark I won’t just hand out the free shout-outs on my low-traffic blog, so there. ALSO GUESS WHAT INTERNET DESPITE THAT STUPID PICTURE HE DOESN’T HAVE A MOUSTACHE ANYMORE SO YOU CAN STOP ASKING HIM WHAT IS UP WITH IT.

  7. Jesse Bullington said,

    By “SOME” I meant, of course, “the best.” Now I’m getting burned on Paper Fruit…as if I needed anything else in common with Neil and that groddy it’s-not-kinky-and-unethical-if-they’re-reincarnated-immortals guy…

  8. Selena said,


    Actually, in the spirits picture I was going to comment that both lads have shed their Tally facial hairs.

    I like the Boulder dos…what do you call new staches/goats/soul patches>

  9. molly said,

    I’d respond but my cat just bit me.

  10. Raechel said,


  11. molly said,

    More like “OM NOM NOM NOM.”

  12. brad said,

    A variation on a theme: I like to make an avocado salad in place of guac sometimes. It’s avocado chunks, finely chopped white onion, some smooshed garlic, kosher salt, lime juice, and hella olive oil. I likes it on burritos.

  13. molly said,

    That sounds really good! Mm, now I want burritos!

  14. Fo Qi Shu Kai Li said,

    Guac is from those foods Master Fitch may imbibe, but only in proper balance of much milk of tiger. And remeber in all things especially seasoning of foodstuffs Com-Pree-Mise, is best. (But if there arise differences then needles can fix, temporary fix, or slow long never cause more trouble for me… I mean, Master Fitch, fix.)

    [Personally I’m a fan of lime over lemon but can do both, I like jalapeños and red onion and tomatoes (a little I agree too much washes out the avocado flavor), a bit of ‘fajita seasoning (that means salt & pepper & onion powder basically) also cilantro is a must although the mutant culantro can work in a pinch and tiger’s milk is also a must but barring that just use a ‘whisper’ of cayenne (and I do mean a whisper — please not a lingering one and never at court.) That’s basically it. ]

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