Yesterday, Nick Corasaniti, a political reporter for The New York Times, had some rather alarming early afternoon news to share with the rest of Twitter. “The guacamole in the Times cafeteria today is studded with edamame,” his tweet read. “I’m in favor of this.”
The guacamole in the Times cafeteria today is studded with edamame. I'm in favor of this.
Predictably, the man's “menchies” were abuzz with responses, most of which teetered towards the the farcically outraged. “I love both edamame and guacamole but this is offensive,” one Twitter denizen noted. “It just never stops with these people,” sighed another. And one more, for good measure: “We've been through this before.”
Indeed, it’s true. The gaping, gangrenous wound of the Times' food vertical’s pea guacamole recipe, which caused an online firestorm nearly two years ago, is still fresh in the public memory. The Melissa Clark recipe called for green peas in guacamole, which isn't exactly a new suggestion—a recipe with similar ingredients on our own site predates Clark's by two years, for example. But the slightly hubristic language appended to the recipe on social, asking readers to “Trust us” in taking this gastronomic leap of faith, didn’t help matters, emboldening the severity of the response. The suggestion that avocado-rich guacamole could somehow be polluted with an ingredient that traditional recipes haven’t called for struck many as absurd.
So there's a whiff of nostalgic indignation with yesterday's edamame-decorated guac. There are obvious differences between the two episodes, if you can call Corasaniti’s tweet an episode at all. The pea guac incident was a doing of the Times’ food vertical; the edamame guac was served in the Times cafeteria by a contractor who, in case it needs to be stated, operates independently of the company's editorial apparatus. No matter. There’s some charming symmetry between pea guac and guacamame: Just years after setting the internet alight with its rather distressing suggestion that peas in guacamole are fun and flirty, the Grey Lady strikes again with some rebellious guac. Now there's a food trend no one saw coming.
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Perplexingly—and, well, somewhat upsettingly—the contractor at the Times cafeteria wasn’t even the first to suggest putting edamame in guacamole. Edamame-embedded guacamole has had a nice home at Trader Joe's, with a nifty portmanteau to boot: guacamame. There are also a number of riffs on this template, including a rather grody-sounding guacamame edamammus dip.
As Twitter has re-litigated the matter of what belongs in guacamole, the consensus seems to be the same as it was two years ago: Please leave guacamole alone. There’s a porous, muddy line between culinary exploration and desecration that such recipe additions cross, corrupting the inherent sanctity of guacamole. It's a dish that is at home on a chip or tortilla, so long as it makeup remains static. Right?
Peas or edamame in guacamole: welcome additions or culinarily sacrilegious? Let me know in the comments.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.