homemade coconut milk

1.5 cups coconut shavings
4 cups water heated but not boiled.

I used a fine strainer and then squeezed through a tea towel in place of double layers of cheesecloth. The tea towel or cheesecloth is rinsed out and dries fairly quickly and there you are ready to use it again.

At Whole Foods I went straight to the bulk bins that are at the front of the store as you go in and I encountered a very old man squatting down and scooping some unidentifiable white substance. He is wearing riding shorts, white socks, cross trainers, and a bicycle helmet and he looks to be about seventy years old. He was focused on scooping without making a mess. I addressed him directly, 

"What is that stuff you are scooping?"

He looks at me blankly. It does take a moment to assess whether he is being accosted, greeted, imposed upon, or genuinely beseeched for knowledge. There is a silent pause holding in the air between us. I just stand there waiting for a response one way or another aware of putting on my own innocent sincere face.

     "This is coconut."


Another silent pause hangs between us. I do not move.

"What are you going to do with it?"

I can see him wondering if I am worth his taking his time for me.

     "I'm going to use it to  make coconut milk."


Then he decided to explain things more deeply. I had opened the floodgate of expository impulses. He told me all about coconut milk, all he thought valuable relating.  Once he got into it he appeared to be really enjoying himself. He put me some knowledge at length.  He did go on. He decided I will make an apt student.

And so he went on, and on, and on, and on, I had a lot of shopping to do ahead of me I had only just started, and on and on and on.

"What else can you do with it? Can you use it to make a cake?"

He told me the bin next to the bin he was scooping holds larger shavings. People, women, use that one for cakes, or better, they use a real coconut. Behind us in a pile on a table. 

What he did not tell me, or maybe I was spacing when he did tell me, is that the coconut milk liquid forms a layer of coconut fat on top when as it cools in the refrigerator. That layer can be mixed in. The layer of coconut fat is quite good for you and melts at room temperature although the little chunks floating around are interesting, not off putting at all, and actually enjoyable.

After all that, he also did not mention that you can add a few drops of vanilla extract. Nor did he mention it goes well with Ovaltine too, though it appears a bit watery when you are used to whole milk. 

Health-conscious people live in a world of their own. Don't we all? I find they are always willing and eager to share their obsessions, impart the things that they know.

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