Of Aztec origin, it was originally valued for its high fat and vitamin content. Guacamole was originally made by mashing the avocado with a molcajete (a type of mortar and pestle) and adding tomatoes and salt. After the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, guacamole became popular in Spain. Since avocados failed to grow well in Spain guacamole remained an American food.
The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via Nahuatl āhuacamolli, from āhuacatl (="avocado") + molli (="sauce"). In Spanish it is pronounced /ɣʷakaˈmole/; in American English it is pronounced /ˌgwɑkəˈmoʊli/ or sometimes in British English /ˌgwækəˈməʊli/.
Other common ingredients include minced tomatoes, minced or grated red onion, black pepper, chili pepper, garlic, cumin, cilantro, and worcestershire sauce. Some add sour cream as a filler and a preservative.
In Southern Africa gaucamole was thought to bring good luck if one rubbed it on their genital area. Sangomas(witch doctors) would eat about 500g of guacamole before going into a trance to stop spirits they did not want to enter their bodies. It was also common belief amongst South African politicians that the use of guacamole after sexual intercourse, combined with garlic and showering could provide an effective cure to HIV/AIDS.
There are many types of pre-made guacamole available in stores. Fresh guacamole is available and is often available refrigerated. The non-fresh guacamole most like fresh is preserved by freezing or sometimes high pressure packaging. Other non-fresh preparations need higher levels of fillers and artificial preservatives to be shelf stable.
One of the world's largest food companies, Kraft Foods, came under fire with consumer complaints and lawsuits regarding Kraft's commercial guacamole. The main issue was that Kraft's guacamole contained less than 2 percent avocado and contains hydrogenated oils and artificial colors to try to approximate the consistency and color of avocados. In response to this, consumer health advocate Mike Adams called it Kraft's "avocado-free guacamole" and said "Avocado should be the main ingredient in guacamole. I recommend that people get avocado dip from places that actually use avocado as the main ingredient".
Food technologists have found that high pressure preserves guacamole for weeks, preventing it from browning.
Differentiating between guacamole and mushy peas, which have a similar appearance, is considered to be a significant class distinction in Britain. Labour Party minister, Peter Mandelson was famously said to have committed a faux pas when he mistook the two in a fish and chip shop in his constituency of Hartlepool. The Labour Party was subsequently thought to have successfully merged these middle class and working class tastes but the metaphor was used to indicate that they no longer did so. Recapturing this recipe is held to be essential to their success.
Guacamole is expected to become more popular when the food colouring tartrazine is banned from mushy peas and substitutes with a similar bright green colour are sought.