Oh marvel of marvels, I beheld thee.
A coconut I hugged full of glee.
So many recipes, so many possibilities,
I look at thee and I count all the intricacies.
So hard to open,
so difficult to get,
I never truly appreciated how beautiful you can get.
With a sharpened bolo, I crack you open.
Side by side,
at the bottom,
making diagonal chops until you show the door to that juicy milk you've got.
A song has been sung,
an ode to you.
About how you're not a nut but instead a fruit.
(Here's a video - if you can't see it, click this link: http://youtu.be/SKusccsfg6I
Many vegans and non-vegans have long known how the coconut is truly a remarkable fruit. As a matter of fact, we regularly keep a store of them ready just in case we need to have some of the delicious coconut meat for some guests. We have about 10 trees in our front yard and the only maintenance that the trees need is to regularly cut and clean the "palapa" (the coconut tree leaves) which routinely fall every other week.
The trees are a welcome sight in any type of garden and give that ambient tropical feel that's remarkably distinctive compared with any other plant or tree.
We store the fruits in a pile we keep at our front door. People believe that germinating coconut fruits are good luck and should be kept near one's place of business or home. I keep about 30 and so far this year, I have been quite lucky - thanks to theflamingvegan.com and rollingwithoutlimits.com.
My fondness for coconuts extend well beyond the culinary scope.
Respect the Coconut Tree
Respect the coconut tree and it will be nice to you.
It should be mentioned that one should stay clear of coconut trees during a storm or even a windy or rainy day. At any given moment, a bunch of coconuts could fall with enough prodding from brother gravity. I always make it a point to pay attention to the sounds from above whenever I am under one.
Every September to December, I temporarily stop the gathering of coconuts so that they would have the time to replenish themselves for the holiday seasons. And last December 2012, we served a lot of viands that have coconut in them.
A distinguishly tropical mainstay, even I could make a buko salad. Simply strip the coconut meat off a fresh coconut fruit, mix with condensed milk, then add fruit cocktail. It takes a lot of work and muscle, but the salad is truly rewarding and delightful for guests.
Yesterday, while having dinner with my wife and kids, I took to asking my wife why other cultures - most specially Western and European cultures, didn't have or weren't able to invent sweets that are akin to Filipino sweets. I'm speaking of latik, maja blanca, coco jam, calamay, biko, sapin-sapin and the ever universal ginataan.
For the very long age and culture of Western nations, why oh why haven't they invented food like these?
The answer may be pretty obvious to all, but to me, asking this fundamental question went back to the coconut in partnership with rice.
Coconut meat and milk combined with rice creates a whole new cornucopia of desserts and sweets that simply couldn't be found anywhere else. I suppose a lot of Filipinos who are abroad - and there are millions now - probably miss these very common delicacies.
In that manner, I think I am very lucky to have these coconuts and I'm very grateful for living in a place where there they are in great abundance.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.