Monday, March 30, 2015

Coconut show and tell

Isaac had to take something about islands to school for show and tell, so they went to the grocery and got a coconut.  Show and tell was a success, and his mom scored an even greater success when she dropped Isaac and the coconut off in the afternoon and suggested we might want to open it while she was away.

We started by watching a YouTube video.  It looked so easy.  We took the ProduceGuy's advice and used the power drill to punch two holes and drain the coconut water. Meanwhile, in the other room, my husband was watching another video that suggested using a hammer and screwdriver, but Isaac and I got there first with the power tools. So twenty-first century.

He didn't think much of the coconut water.

We progressed to trying to crack open the coconut. The guy on the video took a big meat cleaver and rapped the back side of it around the equator of the coconut, which proceeded to open neatly.  We didn't have a cleaver but we rapped ours with a knife (didn't work) and then with a hammer, with increasing noise levels but not much progress.  Finally after much pounding we achieved a crack and were able to pry with a screwdriver to get it into two pieces.

Now was the time for eighteenth century tools.  We let Ken continue with the hammer and got it broken into several pieces.

All the while I was thinking about my last visit to Australia, when my brother brought home a coconut and he and I were assembling our tools for the assault.  In walked a friend who was raised in India, and was quite amused at the array of brute force we were planning to unleash.  "Wait -- here's how you open a coconut," she said, and proceeded to use very little more than her thumbs and a toothpick to zip the thing open.  Unfortunately I forgot how she did it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Still frittering away our resources...

Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy when you publicly complain about something and then you find that they've changed what you were complaining about?

Well, today I don't.

Two years ago I complained because I opened a new package of oats and found the tamper-proof band was made out of corn.  What a waste of food.

This morning I opened a new package of oats and found a little change in the wording.  Now it's made from "plants," not "corn."

Fifteen minutes on google reveals -- wait for it -- it's still made from corn, even though somebody in the public relations office apparently decided it would sound better to say "plants."

"Our process does not require corn," the website says, "In the future this will include cellulosic raw materials, agricultural wastes and non-food plants."

But for now, "In North America, corn has been used first because it is the most economically feasible source of plant starches."

That's your tax dollars at work, folks; corn is subsidized by the government so that we can have cheap tamper-proof bands on our oatmeal.  Without the subsidies do you suppose maybe they would make bands out of agricultural waste and non-food plants?  Do you think that would be a good idea?