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Posted on May 27, 2012

The Zena and Zen of Cutting Coconuts- Alto Boquete, Panama

It’s a new pastime of mine. I sit there on the second step with a knife, Kobi’s machete from Don Jose Ramon when we were a newly nomadic family in Costa Rica and a coconut.

Part one is very Zena-like.  I get to play with really big knives and feel powerful for a moment. Whack! It cracks some. Whack! Whack!  and I collect as much of the coconut milk as I can. Whack!  I get it all the way open and move on to phase two, the really calming part.

Part two is very Zen-like.  I sit there, either alone or with our nomadic kids enthusiastically catching and eating every piece as it flies through the air. It’s meditative and requires great concentration. If you don’t, I believe every member of our family has cuts to show for it.
You have three ways to get your edible parts out. The first one rarely works but it’s so cool, we still try for from time to time.
1-      Sometimes, if you whack your coconut just right, the machete loosens the tough outer skins’ hold on the white meat, and you get great big chunks of coconut. I keep trying, but, to date, only Kobi’s managed to work that magic.
2-      The next largest pieces, and the coolest feeling of an accomplished coconut carver, is when you wedge Orazi’s knife from David the artist just between the layers and pop! you fling out pretty impressive pieces of fruit. It’s nice and calming, just sitting there, with nothing in particular on my mind, nothing else I need to run off to do, and just clean my coconut.