You're stranded on a deserted island and there's very little to eat. What is the first thing you grab to make a meal (besides, hopefully, your friends)?
Coconuts. A Thai-food favorite, a somewhat misnamed fruit, the object of a Tom Hanks love-hate relationship - the coconut (and its oil) has been utilized in the beauty industry, food, textiles and more for a very long time. (The picture at right was taken in 1938 in Key West, Florida. Photo courtesy Library of Congress)
The coconut tree, or cocos nucifera, has been called the "Tree of Life" because you can use just about every part of it. Versatility is its middle name.
As an aside, in accordance with a popular meme, even the name "coconut" has a rather ...uh ... novel use, sexually speaking. According to the obvious sex experts somewhere on the interwebs, a woman spelling the word "coconut" with her hips during sex can improve orgasms. We can't verify the authenticity of this little tip, but we've got a couple of volunteers for an in-depth study. The things we'll do for science!
Coconut oil, which is expressed from the coconut meat, is categorized similar to the way olive oil is done (virgin, extra-virgin, expeller-pressed, cold-pressed) and is dependent on the method of oil extraction. I personally love the way coconut oil, left at room temperature, thickens up and turns hard, but as soon as the warmth of my fingers hits it - boom! Oil. There's something weirdly magical in that.
We usually think of how coconuts taste, and most folks have a firm stance on their preference. There is the "I don't like coconuts" crowd who usually cite texture as at least one reason for their rejection. But for those that are pro-coconut, its sweet, nutty flavor can't be missed. And can you really hate on something that strongly resembles a sloth?
According to Harvard's School of Public Health, coconuts are loaded with manganese and medium-chain triglycerides. We can't speak to the effectiveness of coconut oil on your health (after all, we're a soap company not a doctor), but it's worth looking up and asking an authority.
(Hint: It may also be worth purchasing a dictionary if your spelling is atrocious.)