In high school I laughed at coconuts – empty coconut halves banged together by Arthur in Monty Python – and quoted memorable lines from the scene: “It’s not a question of where he grips it. It’s a simple matter of weight ratios. A five ounce bird could not carry a one-pound coconut.” I didn’t take the coconut very seriously until a friend gave me a young Thai coconut that he had bought on a whim at Whole Foods and then decided not to use. Intrigued, I hacked it open (chipping my largest Henckel knife due to my incompetence) then poured and scraped the insides into a blender along with some vanilla and agave. In a few minutes, the coconut water and coconut meat had swirled into a creamy, delicately flavored smoothie that had me addicted after the first sip.
Last Sunday my friend Michelle and I attended a coconut seminar at Stilisti Salon on Newbury Street in Boston. Yes, I was as surprised as you are that there would be a talk devoted entirely to coconuts. Are there actually other humans as obsessed with the tropical superfood as I am? “Nuts for Coconuts” had been advertised on Each Peach Organic Café’s Facebook page (great café by the way) so I RSVP’d and was excited that Michelle was willing to go as well. We buzzed in to be granted access to the high-end salon, climbed the winding stairs and walked in only to be somewhat taken aback to discover that we were the only two people in attendance who did not work at the salon. The only two people who did not have stiletto heels, vibrant eye shadow, and multiple shades of hair. No one seemed to mind, however, so we slipped into two swivel chairs and excitedly took note of the Vitamix and serving accoutrements laid out on the demonstration table: there would be tastes!
While Augusta (owner of Each Peach) and Bret the other presenter set up, I started to become a bit anxious, partly because I was excited to enjoy the Vitamix treat to come but also because I felt like everyone was now beginning to notice and disapprove of my hasty pony tail and was doing a makeover of my make-up-less face in their heads. To be fair, I was also chuckling at the unusual composition of the coconut seminar audience, people who could identify the brand of someone’s purse but not, as it turned out, coconuts. “What are those things?” one girl asked, pointing to the four white, conical-topped melon-sized objects on the table. “These are the young coconuts…” the presenter Augusta (owner of Each Peach) began, but another girl interrupted her mid-sentence “Oh my gosh I love your shoes!” “Where did you get that shirt?” another girl chimed in. “So, how are these coconuts distinguished from the coconuts that are brown and stringy?” the sole male in attendance, who reminded me of the incisive Nigel from “The Devil Wears Prada” – queried. The brown coconuts, by the way, are the mature coconuts that have the outer husks removed.
The presenters began by giving an overview of a raw food diet and its merits. Then, they shared some amazing information about coconuts and the many raw products from coconuts that can contribute to a raw food diet: coconut water, coconut meat, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut crystals and nectar. There is even coconut flour. The information is summarized in the attached sheet. Finally, they prepared and shared a delicious and filling raw chocolate mousse with a coconut base, the recipe for which is also attached.
Both of the presenters intended to help make a raw food, nutritious diet more accessible and appealing to people whose busy and demanding schedules – like those of the stylists in attendance – lead to the convenience of nibbling on candy and other processed snacks throughout the day. Both of them had “converted” to a predominantly raw-food diet from more typical American diets and reaped numerous benefits. It was a really neat adventure to end up as visitors in the little salon in Boston getting inspired by people who love good food and being creative with nutrition. Since then I’ve hydrated with coconut water on a long ride and I’ve made coconut smoothies, a coconut-flour banana bread with apples and walnuts, and a coconut-curry stir fry. Perhaps you will find something useful and intriguing in the information as well – even if you don’t become as obsessed with coconuts as I