Adventures in Eating

The Avo-Lotto: Does the Gamble Make Avocados Better?

Are avocados more appealing because you never really know what you’re going to find when you slice one open?

The other day, I used my time very judiciously by reading a 25-page thread about loving avocados on an academic message board (what? leave me alone!). One poster brilliantly proposed the term “avo-lotto” to describe the gamble you take when you buy an avocado, not knowing if it’ll end up perched gloriously and green atop a salad or brown and pitted in your trash bin. (The tips you can find in videos like this one help, but I can tell you from bitter experience that they don’t guarantee anything.)

The Vegan Project advocates taking a stand on rotten avocados and returning them to the store from whence they came.

The Vegan Project advocates taking a stand on rotten avocados.

As you might expect, rotten avocados make people angry. For good reason: When you pop one open to find mush, the promise of the avocado’s wonderfully rich and buttery soft flesh is dashed, leaving only disappointment—and an unsightly mess–in its wake.

Page after page of the forum thread finds people anticipating the delight of an avocado and being disappointed when their fruit is foul.

But another poster offered a counter-intuitive take on the avo-lotto, suggesting that perhaps you enjoy the good avocados more because you can’t simply expect them. The possibility (and frequent reality) of imperfection, in other words, makes perfection that much sweeter.

I can appreciate the argument. I certainly feel more care-free and bouncy about money I find unexpectedly on the ground than I do about the money that shows up in my bank account every month like clockwork. Surprises can be awesome.

The vegan, gluten-free Creamy Lime and Avocado Tart from Eating Bird Food.

The vegan, gluten-free Creamy Lime and Avocado Tart from Eating Bird Food.

But I don’t know, guys. I also think avocados are so damned amazing that I’d love them even if—especially if!—every single one slipped its skin all perfectly green and silky. I’d probably eat more of them, since I’d be willing to shell out the ridiculous money stores in the Midwest demand if I could be sure I wouldn’t be throwing my purchase in the garbage. I’d buy avocados by the dozen and make avocado-green tea popsicles and avocado-lime bread and avocado margaritas and avocado tarts and avocado-kiwi smoothies.

Clearly, I’m torn. So what do you think? Do you enjoy a perfectly ripe avocado because you’ve gambled and won (and could have lost)?


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About Derek Attig

Derek Attig writes and teaches about book culture, technology, and history. When he's not working on a book about bookmobiles in American life, you can find Derek cooking or spending way too much money at restaurants. He blogs at Follow Derek on Twitter: @bookmobility

  • Dana Staves

    Oh the sadness of being forsaken by an avocado-tease, either the over-ripe or under-ripe variety. But also, oh the glory of a perfect avocado. We take the chance because when the payoff is good, it’s soooo good.

  • Nikki Steele

    That’s why you must always buy multiple, too many avocados at the store. And then when they’re all good? BONANZA!

  • Jenne Kopalek

    The softer the skin the more likely it will be bad. Get it where the skin gives a tad not a lot. Though you can get ones that are a tad hard and put them in the cupboard for a day or two and then put them in the fridge and they will ripen.

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