A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 14, 2015
Poor Man’s Butter (avocado)

The avocado was called the “poor man’s butter” in Latin American countries, where the rich, buttery texture and mild nutty flavor was used in place of butter fat. “Poor man’s butter” has been cited in print since at least 1913, but it is used with irony in the United States, where avocados are often expensive.

Margarine has also been called by the nickname “poor man’s butter.”


Google Books
The Tropical Agriculturalist
Volume 39
1913
Pg. 82:
Judged in the presence of these criteria, the remarkable fruit called the Avocado Pear is possessed of great dietetic value ... Again, three of its most familiar names — “butter fruit,” “poor man’s butter” “soldier’s butter"— are due to the fact that, in the countries of its production, it is used by the natives in lieu of buter fat.

25 May 1955, Times-Bulletin (Van Wert, OH), “Avocados Are Good Buy Now” by Virgil S. Johnson (Home Demonstration Agent), pg. 6, col. 1:
The avocado has been an exotic food in the United States, but in Mexico it is “poor man’s butter.”

2 December 1959, Greensboro (NC) Record, “Carolina Cookery,” pg. A7, col. 3:
Because it (an avocado—ed.) is no rich in oil, it is frequently called the “poor man’s butter” in some south of the border countries.

7 January 1960, Lexington (KY) Herald, pg. 25, col. 1 photo caption:
AVOCADOS, RICH AND DELICIOUS, combine with other vegetables and with citrus for gourmet salads. Called “poor man’s butter” in some Latin American countries, the tropical fruit makes a good hors d’eurve dip and potato topping.

Google Books
Tortillas!:
75 Quick and Easy Ways to Turn Simple Tortillas Into Healthy Snacks and Mealtime Feasts

By Pat Sparks and Barbara Swanson
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1993
Pg. 39:
In earlier times, guacamole was sometimes called Indian butter or poor man’s butter. The avocado tree is a member of the laurel family, and its leaves are used as flavoring in Mexican cooking.

Google Books
Caribbean Cooking
By John DeMers
New York, NY: The Berkley Publishing Group
1997
Pg. 16:
AVOCADO These were once known around the Caribbean as “midshipman’s butter” or “poor man’s butter.” Today the islanders simply call them “pears,” making for confusion with the fruit enjoyed in the United States.

The Feast Within
Poor Man’s Butter
BY GABI // 2008/04/25
(...)
My friends from Chile call this Poor Man’s Butter- avocado mashed with a little salt and pepper and a dash lemon and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Avocado is called “Palta” in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. (Just a bit of extraneous information for your reading pleasure… )

Google Books
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sensational Salads
By Leslie Bilderback
New York, NY: Alpha Books
2009
Pg. 10:
Avocado The avocado is native to the tropics, and its rich, buttery texture and mild nutty flavor have given it the nickname “poor man’s butter.” The Hass avocado is by far the most popular

New York (NY) Times
Avocados: ‘Poor Man’s Butter’ No More
By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
May 4, 2009
(...)
“Poor man’s butter,” they used to call avocados when my father was a child. (Now they would more aptly be described as “rich man’s butter.”)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, November 14, 2015 • Permalink