Friday, July 3, 2009


In reply to a Friend's Inquiry---Thoughts on Cutting a Watermelon:

OH, Sweetpea! We've got to get you into the G.R.I.T.S.!!

You just have to let it know who's boss. Lay it on the counter (on a tray if you worry about spillage), on a wet towel for traction. Hold the knife, a good long one, like Norman Bates. Yes, you're gonna stab that melon, but gently---you don't want a ricochet or a projectile.

Stick it right in the middle of the top---I usually cut them lengthwise, but you're the boss of this team. Let the knife go in pretty deep, THEN rock it a bit, slicing toward the end the blade faces. Lots of times, the melons will give a great, surrendering sound---a deep, rich, satisfying noise between a "crack" and a "thud," and split of their own accord, sweetly eager to give up their ripe redness.

Turn it around and slice toward the other end, and if it's a big one, you may have to turn it over and try to make the cuts meet, like two highway-line painters coming from opposite directions.

There you are. Make quarters, or half-moons, or quarter it lengthwise, slide the knife all the way from one end to the other right where the white meets the red, then slice that into neat one-or-two-inch slices, right in the shell. If you're fancy and it's a party, slide each slice out a bit, alternating sides---pretty presentation. Next time: A Baby Carriage, but that calls for calling in the Expert---Caro is our Carver-in-Residence, and is an artist with the knives.

And for the Complete Experience, conduct all the above at Twilight with a shade-cooled melon, picked early as dew and left beneath the trees. Eat it face-first in a creaky lawn chair or at a battered old scarred-veteran of a picnic table, letting drops fall where they may, spitting seeds far into the grass, and skeeting away all traces from hands, face and table with cold blasts from the garden hose as the locust sing. Sit back with the sweetness lingering on your tongue and breeze-dry as the firefly show begins.


Kat said...

Watermelon is one of my favorites this time of year and I actually have some in my refrigerator right now. Hmmm....I think I hear it calling my name.

Happy 4th!

Kim Shook said...

The only thing that I could add is to make sure that there is a cow pasture nearby. They love the rinds. Unless, of course, someone wants to make sublime pickles!

racheld said...

Do you know I have never tried to make watermelon pickles? I'd love to sometime, for when I was young and newly-first-married, my great treat was a little bottle of watermelon or cantaloupe "pickles" that were more like preserved fruit, from Safeway.

They came in a maybe 6" bottle, tiny around like an olive bottle, and had the jade green and the pale peach of translucent chunks of jewelry in the glass. We usually went for groceries only once a month, and as I was the only one who liked them, I rationed those out very carefully, so I'd still have at least one little cube the day before "grocery day."

~~louise~~ said...'m harvesting this link for my Watermelon Month post. Yes, indeed, July is Watermelon Month!!!

Safe & Happy 4th to you and yours, Rachel...

Kouign Aman said...

I still remember this lesson, and am honored to be mentioned as a friend. That first watermelon durned near took a hatchet to cut it up. I was sweating and cursing as the butcher knife and I tried to 'coax' it into halves!