I heard a knock at the door, and opened it to find one of the homeowners handing me four mangoes–two that are ripe, two that need another day or so.
We started talking about the coconuts that he harvests from the street, and that led to a machete and a handmade, welded striking implement cracking open coconuts on the porch, draining the milk, admiring the meat (which you score and then scoop out), and an explanation of how to make coconut milk—blend quite a bit of coconut water, a little coconut meat, a date and a dash of cinnamon for sweetness.
As a storm rages outside, intermittently lighting up the cottage, I am drinking it all up and in, sipping the milk (fresh coconut water tastes infinitely better than the packaged product, as you can imagine) and shaking my head at all the years I let a terrible cake experience with sweetened, shredded kind of coconut hold me back.
I prescribe fresh coconut.
If we can imagine meat—the word itself, without its weighty moral baggage and simply referring to these hairy things that hang from tropical trees—as a delightfully firm, silky white layer hidden inside a shell, perhaps spritzed with a little lime, we may all feel a little better…