Photo courtesy of @karaswisher

Words don't mean anything anymore

Mike Pomranz
April 23, 2018

Marketing is an important part of any business. Turkey on toast sounds boring, but call it a “club sandwich” and—boom—now you got a product that can move. But though a little bit of creative framing can make something more appealing, sometimes the hard sell can be a major turnoff… like calling something a “deconstructed avocado toast bowl”—especially when that’s not even what you’re serving.

In a tweet sent from the alternative universe that is Venice Beach, California, Twitter user Kara Swisher posted an image of a sign proclaiming a “New! ‘Deconstructed Avocado Toast Bowl.’” Now, admittedly, the undisclosed restaurant in question (assuming that this is real and not a prank) choose to put “deconstructed avocado toast bowl” in quotes on its own accord, so maybe the whole thing was intended to invoke a bit of irony. Still, an attempt at being tongue-in-cheek or not, the idea is more enraging than humorous for a number of reason.

First, the dish is described as “Avocado and Cherry Tomatoes tossed in Honey Lime Vinaigrette with Seven Grain Croutons over a bed of Farro, Crisp Apple, and Kale. Served with a Hard Boiled Egg.” Nothing about that dish is “deconstructed.” “Deconstructed” means breaking all of the ingredients into their component parts. Haphazardly mixing all of your ingredients into a bowl is essentially the opposite of deconstructed. If you really wanted to offer a humorously “deconstructed avocado toast,” you could serve an unpeeled avocado and an unsliced loaf of bread. That might be so dumb that it’s funny; this dish just shows a complete lack of understanding for the English language.

Speaking of the English language, even if we set aside the idea that serving a “deconstructed bowl” in a bowl is, in fact, a mind-bending paradox, let’s look at a second frustrating misuse of words. What exactly would you consider to be “avocado toast”? Most often, the main ingredients are avocado and toast (here, substituted with croutons). Ingredients that are not typically used: cherry tomatoes, farro, apple, kale, egg or honey lime vinaigrette. The majority of items in this bowl have nothing to do with avocado toast whatsoever. It’s like if someone sold a “deconstructed grilled cheese” and it included bread and cheese and scalloped potatoes and a rack of lamb and pomegranate seeds and habanero chilies and was served with a Hard Boiled Egg in a bowl.

In the end, this particular “Deconstructed Avocado Toast Bowl” is nothing more than a salad. A very poorly named salad. Of course, possibly the most frustrating part of all is that a real opportunity was missed here because deconstructed foods can be delightfully infuriating. For instance, a couple years ago, an Australian coffee house angered the food world by serving a deconstructed flat white that was just espresso, frothed milk, and water in three different beakers. Where is that level of snooty detachment here? A deconstructed avocado toast bowl could have been slices of avocado, a couple pieces of toast, some olive oil, salt and pepper, all served on individual wooden boards balanced atop an empty bowl. Compared to that, this salad isn’t just misnamed… it’s lazy.

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