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Of the hundreds of reasons that I love Tooting, one of them has to be the unrivalled expert knowledge of the local inhabitants about things that remain but blurred questions in the minds of others.

For example, have you ever wondered if there's an easy way to get the flesh (meat?) out of a coconut? Probably not; but if, like me, you have an urgent piece about horses to finish, then you need to know how to prepare your coconut shells for sampling.

So, in Sainsburys, I choose my checkout carefully, and ask the guy behind the till (as the coconut goes through) if he has any useful hints and tips about getting the stuff out of the coconut.

As I suspected, he did have a solution. Apparently, there is a machine you can buy in any of the Sri Lankan shops in Upper Tooting Road, which gets the white stuff out, and costs around a fiver. So this afternoon, I went down to the Sri Lankan shops and asked. Sure enough, out came the Odiris coconut grater, for 6.49. It looks like a combination between a lemon squeezer, a hand mincer and those things that came out of the wheels in James Bond's Aston Martin.

It works like a dream, and is lethal. It's the most obvious thing, and everyone should have one, but I guess the Health & Safety Executive would rather you didn't. Which is why I love Tooting and everyone in it. Software designers should all come to Tooting, to understand how important it is to solve problems that people have, rather than create solutions which solve an imaginary problem.



Dear Jonathan,
I am looking into your site quite often.Today you introduced the one equipment that every Sri Lankan household has,if poor or rich,the scraper.After living 20 years in Sri Lanka I hated it,because you need a lot of strength to hold the shell.The best thing to open the nut in two halfs is to hit with the back of a heavy knife into the middle of the nut in one hand and this requires a lot of practice but it works.The price there is under 1 pound and I brought one with me to Germany where I am staying at the moment.
Good luck with your next curry dish,
By the way,you introduced me to IT scills and keyboard shortcuts at London headquarters and I met you at the congregation at Durham this year.

Thank you Hannelore! You've answered my second question, which is how do you cut the coconut in half so that it doesn't splinter into pieces (it's important when you need nice even halves so that you can make the sound of horses' hooves!). I tried sawing it in half, but it was a bit hard in the garden in the dark, with only a huge old rusty saw and no Black and Decker Workmate.

Can't wait to try the back-of-the-knife technique. I'll keep you informed!

Instead of a knife, it is much easier to use a decent hammer. Hold the nut in one hand, hit it in the middle, rotate nut, hit in the middle, etc.

Thank you thinai - all helpful suggestions gratefully received. I'll give it a go with the hammer technique!

an you let me know where you got this amazing contraption from(Odiris coconut grater)?
I tried your link but I could make no sence of where it was leading me I am affraid. This would make my life much easier if i could get one...

E Caldwell, sorry about the broken link - it used to go to a site which featured this make of coconut scraper in an online catalogue, but it seems to have disappeared now.

I'm pretty sure that I bought at Niru's convenience store at 82 Upper Tooting Road, but if not, it was in one of the shops within a few metres of Niru's. Niru's is listed in the British Tamil Information Directory, so if you're nowhere near Tooting, maybe you could try somewhere else? The guy in Sainsburys assured me that I could go into any of the Sri Lankan shops in Tooting and find one, or find a man who knew where to get one.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on November 9, 2003 9:56 PM.

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Jonno S on Coconuts: E Caldwell, sorry about the broken link - it used
E Caldwell on Coconuts: Hi an you let me know where you got this amazing
Jonathan on Coconuts: Thank you thinai - all helpful suggestions gratefu
thinai on Coconuts: Instead of a knife, it is much easier to use a dec
Jonathan on Coconuts: Thank you Hannelore! You've answered my second que