"The tempest in a pea cup," is what some are calling #GuacamoleGate, brought on by the simple addition of peas to a traditional guacamole recipe, along with President Obama's reaction via Twitter. Now people are dipping their chips in delight or anguish. Some cry sacrilege. Others love the “decalorization” of the usually calorie-laden dip. The recent debate started when the New York Times published a recipe for guac that included green peas. The dichotomy of opinions on #PeasInGuac became an even more fiery debate when President Obama weighed in. And when the Today Show aired a taste-off yesterday, the hashtags #PeasPlease and #PeasPass went up for vote and the storm began.
But is it a new idea as everyone seems to think?
Not at all,” says Wellness Warrior founder Deborah Szekely, who co-founded Rancho La Puerta (a spa and fitness resort in Mexico) in 1940, and also founded the Golden Door in 1958. “It all began with Spa Cuisine and the spa chefs who have been doing it for at least 40 years or more.”
Some quick phone calls to two chefs who worked for Szekely as early as the 1970s confirmed it. Michel Stroot, a Belgian-born classically trained chef many credit as being one of the fathers of modern spa cuisine in America, started working for Szekely in 1974. He also did some consulting stints at Rancho La Puerta.
“We added peas to cut calories,” recalls Stroot. “I wasn’t much in favor of it, because I thought it added a certain sweetness. But the guests loved it.”
Another Rancho La Puerta chef, Bill Wavrin, author of “The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook” (1998, Broadway Books, New York), recalls experimenting with not only peas but also edamame (fresh soy beans) and broccoli.
“We blanched the edamame and/or broccoli for about 30 seconds, drained them, then chopped them in a food processor until about the consistency of coffee grounds before adding to the avocado,” said Wavrin. “It was always the most-requested recipe in my weekly cooking classes for the guests.”
So there you have it: GuacamoleGate all started when spa-wellness pioneer Deborah Szekely exhorted her chefs to keep it healthy, keep it delicious, but cut the calories.
“It did cut the calories perhaps 30 percent,” chuckles Wavrin. “Which meant that some of the guests felt that meant they could eat three times as much!”
Bill's Recipe is available here on our site. And we hope you dig in this 4th and share our #wwapprovedrecipe with family and friends who are on the side of #PeasPlease.
Chefs Bill Wavrin & Michel Stroot