Saturday, June 27, 2009


Our  unusually cool June in Phoenix is over.  It’s hot.  Yesterday I bought a small seedless watermelon, and Don and I sat in the kitchen scarfing it down while reminiscing about our watermelon-eating pasts.

The small melon we were eating was the perfect size for the two of us.  I don’t remember exactly when the “icebox” sized melons became available.  Years ago, all one could find were 15-pound giants, with or without stripes, which were best cooled in a tin tub filled with water and placed in the shade.  Forget seedless, too.  Until recently, all watermelons were rife with big old black seeds.  Of course, when you’re younger, those multitudinous black seeds are less a nuisance and more an irresistible invitation to a spitting contest.  We ate a lot of melons in the summer.  My grandfather raised them commercially, and we kids would follow him down the rows of enormous fruits as he checked to see if the crop was ready to harvest.  Sometimes, in order to check for ripeness, he’d “plug” one with a knife, which was good, since we would then get to eat the now-unsalable melon . But mostly he’d thump on them with his knuckles, and judge their readiness by the sound.  I never quite learned the knack of thumping, but he never failed to get it right.

I love to make melon salads in summer.  I don’t do anything fancy.  I’ll ball one or two varieties of melon, whatever I have on hand - watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, Persian - and toss the balls with a dressing made of flavored yogurt thinned with water, and throw in a handful or two of granola. I never have exactly the same ingredients twice in a row, but the result is always delicious.


Lisa Hall said...

I love melon balls with green grapes.

Marian Allen said...

Donis, I like the way you cook, girl! That kind of recipe (take what you have and put it together the way you like it) used to scare the paprika out of me, but now I do it, too. Soup recipe: boil stuff. Salad recipe: Put stuff in a bowl and serve it cold.

Now you've got my mouth watering for melons. :)

Donis Casey said...

I wonder how you could make a cookbook out of that, Marian? "Look in fridge, see what's there, put it together..."

Marian Allen said...

Right, Donis: "Take what you have. Combine it to taste. Cook as you like. Or don't."

We could collaborate on a bumper sticker.