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The avocado that’s been doubling as a countertop decoration for the past week is finally ripe. (Perfect timing with Labor Day guac opportunities around the corner!) But are we the only ones who feel like things tend to go a bit haywire once you actually cut into the small green fruit?

The halves are never symmetrical, and removing the pit is like taking your life into your own hands (why does it always end up flying across the counter?). Plus, scooping out the creamy center usually results in a smushed mess that’s miles away from the perfect slices decorating the toast you see on Instagram.

So what’s the secret behind a pretty slice of avo toast? Alison Cayne, the brains behind Manhattan cafe-slash-cooking school Haven’s Kitchen and author of the Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School Cookbookhas some tips.

Whether you’re dividing your avocado into squares to top a salad, slices to stuff into tacos, or just good old-fashioned mash—Cayne has the best method for prepping your favorite toast topping (without getting the knife anywhere near your fingers).

Watch the video for all the genius tips—and prepare to start craving avocado toast.

For more advice on navigating the kitchen like a pro, watch how to prep hard-to-cut fruits and veggies, and use your new knife skills to make an avocado pizza.

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