Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Does it matter how you slice it?

My daughter was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to her sister this evening. There's a day where he eats a smorgasbord of food, and one item is a slice of watermelon. It looks like this in the book. Well, it is nice and colored, but the shape roughly a thin triangle.

I didn't use to eat watermelon that cut that way. My grandparents grew watermelon along with a slew of other vegetables and fruits on their land near Natchez, Mississippi. After canning and freezing everything, their garden fed the two of them, any visitors that came their way, and supplemented my own family's cupboard.

The watermelons were candy as I saw them. Nothing was better than digging into a freshly cut watermelon while sitting at my grandparents' kitchen table. I waited with a spoon in hand ready to scoop out the heart--the best part of the melon. Granddaddy would make the first cut with his knife and then the melon would crack with ripeness. He'd pass the half-watermelon to my sister and I. We'd get up at least twice in the night from eating the watermelon so late.

When my mom and dad would cut a watermelon at our house, they didn't skimp on the size of the slice. Dad would cut the melon in half and then cut the half into quarters. Each one of us got an entire slice to eat as we saw fit. Dad's was always smooth at the end. Mom's was pretty smooth but had a bit cut out to get the juice. Maverick's was much like mine--chopped up, but with very little pink left on the rind.

It was at my cousins' vacation bible school that I first witnessed the triangular slice to feed a larger crowd with fewer watermelons. I was shocked that the school leader thought it was okay to give out such small slices. My nine year old mind thought, "Surely there are enough cheap watermelons to be found in July in the state of Mississippi." I'm still shocked. The nerve of those people to give me a paltry triangle of watermelon. If I went back the next day it was only because my grandmother made me, and she wasn't a woman to whom you said no to lightly.

I do now cut watermelon into triangular slices for my small children, but in a few years I will probably hand them over a real slice to eat as they see fit.

What about you? How do you eat watermelon?


Cathy said...

I use to slice mine just like you describe. My husband and I had 2 sons and we split that melon into 4 parts.

Now, I cut it all up and put it in a bowl. Everyone just gets out pieces as they come and go.

Nothing like being handed a big juicy piece of watermelon...hmmm

Trixie said...

BIG watermelon pieces, just as you described! Oh wasn't that cracking of the watermelon a glorious sound? Funny how a melon can bring such happy memories flooding back from decades (and decades) ago.

And canteloupe should only be cut in half to create a bowl. Scoop out the seeds and you've got the perfect juice-catching basin.

turtle toes said...

Big slices - the only way to go! When I stayed with my granddad in the summers we used to eat them like that and then feed the rinds to the horses.

What a good memory to start the day!

Genevieve said...

I cut it into triangular slices roughly an inch thick and cut the rind off. Then I serve it in a large bowl, and people can serve themselves and eat it in a salad bowl. It eliminates a lot of mess and slop, in my opinion. I serve cantaloupe in roughly the same way. I do love watermelon though -- don't mistake that.

jarhead john said...

I eat it no matter how it's cut! I prefer it cut any way that includes the rind. I don't mind getting some on me, but I have to have the rind to hang on to. It's best outdoors...no plates, bowls, or utensils necessary.