Despite searching with an eagle eye, I just could not find sweetened, flaked coconut today at the market. In a time crunch, I gave up, grabbed a bag of unsweetened shreds and ran, sure I could figure out a work-around later. I have, and it's so cool and so easy. Thank you Livestrong for both this awesome save and the great information on the myriad health benefits of coconut. Apparently, it is not uncommon for commercially produced sweetened coconut to contain "propylene glycol -- a chemical used in antifreeze -- as an odorless, colorless preservative (Livestrong.com)." YUK! I'm not interested in having a side of chemical with my pie, so instead sweetened my unsweet in this incredibly simple way: stir with powdered sugar, and then with a water-canola oil blend and let sit. Voila. It is so light and fluffy and perfectly sweet. If you want to make some of your own, you can find the recipe by clicking the link I provided in the previous paragraph.
My crust is partially baked, and I'm making the coconut pastry cream now. This pie is going to be awesome!
Concurrently, I'm de-leafing watercress, a laborious but rather meditative task. And quiet meditation is so definitely what I need right now. There are many reasons I love to cook: it allows a sense of control over something when much of life seems (is?) mostly uncontrollable; it offers a challenge when made-up words and toddler nonsense chip away at my brain; it provides a sense of accomplishment in a way that day-to-day (in the short term) parenting rarely does; and the parts of cooking that are repetitive (shelling beans) or practiced (my pie crust) offer the mind a rest as you work towards an end which will likely be comforting and good.
Even when I'm tired, I tend to summon the will to cook because I know that a good meal will satisfy me in a way nothing else quite can. To nourish yourself and others is such an elemental way of caring, a chance to slow down and appreciate what's inside and around you.