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COCOANUT - Defined

COCOANUT--As generally seen in this country is in shell form devoid of its fibrous husk. The shell when broken shows the enclosed nut; this is used in cookery (after having its dark skin removed) chiefly by confectioners in making cakes, puddings, ices, macaroons, etc.; can be purchased for such work in dessicated form. The milk of the cocoanut as the liquid is called, is a valuable flavoring for curries, mulligatawney soup, almond soup, etc.

From the botanical standpoint the breadfruit is as distinctly Asiatic as the cocoanut is American, but although many seedless varieties of the breadfruit were distributed among the eastern archipelagos of Polynesia, these did not reach America until introduced by Captain Bligh in 1793, while the cocoanut must have crossed the Pacific thousands of years before, in order to give time /or the development of the numerous and very distinct varieties cultivated in the Malay region.

Except with the banana, botany gives much evidence for and none against the new world origin of the food plants shared by ancient America with Polynesia and the tropics of the old world, though few of them are known under conditions which warrant a belief that they now exist anywhere in a truly wild state. The partial or complete seedlessness attained by several of the important species also indicates dependence upon human assistance in propagation for a very long period of time, and precludes all rational doubt that their wide dissemination was accomplished through the direct agency of primitive man.

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