The Contentious History Of Avocado Toast

Food trends come and go — remember rainbow bagels or when just about anything was served in a mason jar? While some sensationalized culinary creations fade into obscurity, others stick around. Take avocado toast, a much-examined yet straightforward dish — just two components, one of them raw. It's still a pricey fixture in many cafes and brunch spots, so it's unlikely to fade everywhere. But a snack can't stay on the bleeding edge of culture forever, and this one combined Los Angeles culture, Instagram models, and thousands of social media posts before it wore out its welcome, according to The Cut.

Part of avo toast's rise (and fall) through social media undoubtedly stems from the way it was often visually portrayed. Many saw the creamy smooth square as the perfect canvas for embellishments like fried eggs and greens, or asparagus, poached eggs, and chives. Dressed up, the combo seems to have been made for photo sessions, where folks can show off not only the food but where it was consumed. This leads us to questions of substance versus style — do we like getting in on trends more than we like making the food itself? If a plate of avocado toast falls in the woods ... you get the idea. 

Avocado toast's origins point to Mexico

Avocado toast appears to have connections with Aussie breakfast culture. Many credit Bill Granger, a restaurant entrepreneur behind a popular Australian brunch empire, with originating the toast. Granger modestly denies the claim, citing he doesn't believe he made the creation first, according to the BBCBon Appétit digs through century-old newspaper clippings for avocado toast's initial appearance in the press. Turns out, it was in 1920 in San Gabriel Valley, California, when a writer named Martin Fesler first shared his preparation of mashed avocado on toast with salt and pepper. However, the source doesn't claim that's what kickstarted today's trend — acknowledging that Granger is owed credit for its popularity. 

The 1920 clipping from California still doesn't perfectly encapsulate the toast's history. According to Taste, avocados made it to Australia a few years before California. And where were they eaten prior, for thousands of years? Mexico. In Aztec culture, avocados were held in high regard and signified fertility. It was commonly consumed as guacamole on tortillas, which is a close progenitor to avo toast, though the Mexican chefs interviewed have no desire to take credit for its invention. But while you can still request it at restaurants, let's not argue about this fruit on a carb, but simply enjoy it.