I love watermelon.
It’s my favorite food in the entire world. Me, the quintessential “junk food junkie”, prefer watermelon to french fries, ice cream, and ((gasp)) pizza. The fact that it’s only available less than half the year only makes my craving stronger. So enamored have I always been of this luscious fruit, I once wrote a poem in its praise:
I wish I had a watermelon,
the kind the supermarket’s sellin’
If I could have but a single one,
my wish today would then be done.
Give me one, I’ll eat it whole
and let it fill my inner soul.
But, come on now, let’s be kind.
Don’t expect me to eat the rind!
I wrote that a loooooooooong time ago, so don’t hold it against me if it’s of limited artistic value. Hopefully, I’ve grown since then. My adoration of the beloved melon, however, has not waned in the slightest. If anything, it has intensified. I already wrote a post of praise on my other blog, comparing them to another object of my affections.
Granted, not every melon is a winner. There are some clunkers out there. The problem is, there’s no way of telling which are ripe, crisp, and delicious and which are merely edible.* A bad watermelon is not of such low quality that it can’t be eaten. It’s just that the best watermelon is so good, that anything less is a crushing disappointment. I once returned such a beast to the store where I bought it.
From my experience, last year wasn’t a good year for watermelon. I had a couple of good ones, but several were poor and none were great. This year is already shaping up well. I’ve bought two quarter melons – this time of year, it’s best to visually inspect the insides rather than trust my instincts on the outside – and both have been excellent. Today I took the leap and bought the whole melon. The suspense is killing me.
There are many acceptable ways to eat a watermelon. When I was young, the half moon slice was the preferred format. While eating it, the rind wraps around either side of the head and the cheeks become hopelessly sticky with juice. As a bonus, I was left with a rind that resembled my last initial. As a boy, this method also afforded the easiest access to the ideal summer ammunition: the big, black seeds.
A word about seedless watermelons… well, two words: They’re not. They still have seeds but they’re stealth seeds – little white boogers that are impossible to find and get rid of. Fortunately, the smallest can be swallowed with no fear of the mother’s curse, “Don’t swallow the seeds or a watermelon will grow in your stomach.” (These days, a lot of people could use that excuse.)
No, I miss the real seeds, seeds you can spit at ultrasonic speeds and that stick to a victim’s skin. You can’t have a seed spitting contest with floppy white seeds with no heft to them. Spit those and they flutter around before flopping to the ground at your feet.
Today, I’m more sophisticated in my melon consumption. I cut it up into approximately one inch squares and put those en masse into a large container to be stored in the refrigerator so I can retrieve a few chunks whenever I’m in the mood, which is pretty much always. In that form an entire watermelon generally lasts a couple of days.
Whenever someone comes up to you and says, “If a food is good, it must be bad for you,” don’t believe it. The cherished watermelon bucks the trend. It’s very very good for you and it’s wonderful.
*My hopes for a solution to this dilemma were raised when I read about a watermelon ripeness app for the iPhone. I don’t have an iPhone, but I’d get one for that. Alas, the watermelon app appears to be a failure from the reviews I’ve read. Back to futilely pounding on the rinds in the grocery store.