The broad, flat leaves of an avocado tree shade their prized, mild fruit under a dark green canopy. Corn plants protect stone-dry brown, yellow, and red kernels with tough layers of husk against the wind. Tomatoes soften in the sun, gently pulling their vines toward the ground as they grow, and their bright red skin is the only prediction of the juicy burst of gentle flavor inside. Peppers, seeds, and leaves, when dried and ground, become a fine dust so valuable it drove global trade routes and bridged cultural differences, turning language barriers into fusion cuisine.
The path of human civilization is dotted with humble plants that sustain and nourish us. Fruits and vegetables grow with us as we forge tools for ourselves, swords and plowshares alike, tools that remain with us as symbols of our history. And it is the weight of the responsibility we bear to protect the march of civilization itself that condemns, for all time, the "Guaca Bowle" that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wants to sell you for $75.
This plastic bowl that others sell for $2 is a fraud, better suited to hosting cigarette butts or water for a small mammal than to presenting the treasures of Mexican cuisine. The plastic is dark because it's supposed to mimic the stoneware used for the thing the Guaca Bowle mocks, the molcajete.
More mockajete than molcajete
The mockajete is supposed to trick you into forgetting what it is really made of: plastic. You cannot season plastic; you cannot grind something in stone if stone does not exist. The uneven roughness of a molcajete's rocky surface aids in harmonizing the bold and soft flavors as you crush them with a pestle. This is a symbol of the loss of our value for heritage. Williams-Sonoma, a faceless cooking supply chain that haunts strip malls with oversize stores near poorly selling J. Crews, sells a molcajete that is more authentic:
You've probably seen a knockoff molcajete before, perhaps at a cheap restaurant or during happy hour at a bar. That establishment wanted to cut costs and doesn't want you, a possibly intoxicated person, to break their stuff. It's the exact equivalent of a sit-down restaurant giving you plastic silverware.
Even Lenox, the famous manufacturer of fine crystal and china, knows what a molcajete is (that company's premium version is on sale now and is less expensive than Bush's).
The queen of aristocratic cooking, Martha Stewart, describes it as a "mortar made from volcanic rock."
The Guaca Bowle laughs at authenticity, and urges you to forget the value of your own money. It is the only item for sale on Jeb Bush's campaign website that does not feature a campaign logo. Not even Jeb Bush will claim the Guaca Bowle. It is the black sheep of his website.