Saturday 25 November 2017

I'm very sorry to have to tell you this but the avocado is now toast

Millennials found a perfect match in the avocado but the green dream is crumbling, writes Ciara O'Connor

Millennial breakfast burger: Between an avocado burger bun is whipped feta, onion, tomato, rashers (though millennials can call it ‘bacon’) and a soft-fried egg to knit it all together
Millennial breakfast burger: Between an avocado burger bun is whipped feta, onion, tomato, rashers (though millennials can call it ‘bacon’) and a soft-fried egg to knit it all together

Ciara O'Connor

In the past 10 years, avocados have come further than any fruit would have dared to dream. They have become the symbol, the spirit animal, the rallying cry of a generation that rents and brunches, more commonly known by that grim moniker of millennials.

Millennials and avocados have shared a trajectory - from the excited innocence of new possibilities to self-parody and hatred - their fates inextricably linked.

In the beginning, there was avocado toast. It was on breakfast menus and it was good. A new cohort of young people reinvented brunch. These whippersnappers liked to think of the places they ate as being independent - and hipster cafes exploded, trailing avocado wherever they went.

Their popularity on groovy breakfast menus displayed rising awareness of the ethical implications of eating meat. Remember, this was a generation obsessed with health and food. It was a generation of internet natives who prided themselves on their global outlook. Avocados were exotic and green: just how its consumers wished to be themselves.

Innocent times.

We are now at peak avo/peak millennial; it started with newspaper reports which detailed the alarming rise of hospital admissions for "avocado hand": gashed palms from trying to slice the beasts. People called for warning stickers on the fruit. Tutorials went online overnight. Martha Stewart got involved. We were paying for our guacamole with a blood sacrifice.

Then an Australian millionaire publicly suggested that perhaps more millennials could buy houses if they weren't spending all their money on avocado toast and lattes.

This is ridiculous. No 20-something would drink a latte. Lattes are for babies.

Twitter was immediately filled with the plaintive voices of 32-year-olds who didn't eat avocados and still didn't own a house. Some nerds did the maths and figured out it would take literally hundreds of years of forgoing daily avo-toasts to pay for a property.

In an interview, Leo Varadkar joked that the smashed avocado he was eating on the campaign trail was the reason he only owned an apartment. "I am having the avocado mash," he announced. (Politics for: "I am relevant. Please.")

Then, last week, avolattes became A Thing. This, obviously, is coffee served in a hollowed-out avocado half - why they didn't call it a javacado is beyond me.

It all started as a joke, but we millennials ruined it, like we ruin everything. We actually wanted to buy them - for a laugh. So coffee shops sold them to us. And thus the decline of my generation, and the avocado, snowballed.

This is it. Avolattes are our entire problem: we think we're sooooo funny with our ironic selfies and knowing emojis. But this is who we are now: a homeless generation parodying ourselves into oblivion.

The avocado has become the lens through which we see our lives: it encapsulates our social and economic position. We have sympathy for it because in many ways we are not that different. Strange, unappealing and frivolous to older generations, millennials and avocados are destroying the world.

Cultivation of the fruit is also fuelling deforestation, environmental degradation, while in Mexico the avo trade is increasingly controlled by a drug cartel.

The avocado is a mysterious green enigma - we all know the agony and ecstasy of slicing into its yielding flesh to discover whether it's ready to be eaten or whether its time has passed. The only way to find out is to take a chance.

Millennials are not so different. Though we all look the same, inside many of us are blackened, rotting and no good to anyone. Employers and cooks can both wonder: "Do I have one of the good ones? Is it worth a punt?"

We know we'll never be able to afford to buy a house so we console ourselves with avo-toast at brunch and salt it with our tears. It may be overpriced, but it won't add up to a deposit.

Let us eat avocado. Let us invent horrible caffeinated joke-beverages so we have an excuse to endlessly theorise about ourselves. But self-awareness isn't going to save us. We're folding in on ourselves. The joke has gone too far and we're the only ones laughing. Help.

Sunday Independent

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