Nana’s Recipes: Summer Watermelon


Harsha K M/Flickr Creative Commons

When I was a kid, having that first slice of watermelon was one of those indicators that summer vacation had finally arrived. Some places go absolutely nuts over watermelon. For example, every June Luling, TX, has the “Watermelon Thump,” and for months prior to the “Thump,” you see pickup trucks all over Caldwell County with 8.5×11 sheets of paper taped to the back windows asking you to vote for this girl or that girl so she can become Thump Queen. So for those of you late comers to the fine state of Texas, let me state plainly: watermelon in the summertime is a big deal!

Some folks like to slice them into a kind of giant half-round, throw some salt on that slice, and chow down. That’s the simplest, quickest way to eat watermelon and one of the messiest if you’re a novice. Salting a watermelon seems to be a regional thing – up in Oregon, for example, when i salted my watermelon, folks looked at me pretty funny. “What?” I said. “It makes the watermelon more juicy, and you get that wonderfully salty-sweet flavor” Being wonderful, adventurous folks, they salted a small bit of watermelon and chowed down, forever converted to the Texas way.

One of the greatest tricks you can play with watermelon is to cube up a portion of watermelon that looks like it would be a good mouthful, then bet somebody (preferably someone who might be a lil bit of a know-it-all or one of those slightly irritating personalities like a brother-in-law or that jerk uncle everybody seems to have) that they can’t fit ALL that watermelon in their mouth. If they take the bet they’ll cram it all in there and once they do, bet them they can’t close their mouths. Fluid dynamics being what it it, the water in the watermelon won’t compress and watermelon juice will shoot out their nostrils to the everlasting delight of every kid who witnesses it!