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Awake at the Whisk: My Big, Pink Happiness

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


My Big, Pink Happiness

NASA, we have watermelon!

Okay, so I’m about a month late in sharing my news. But, since a giant, happy melon still sits on the vine waiting to bring life to my kitchen, I think my timing is adequate.

First, allow me to marvel at what a joy a watermelon is! From a tiny seedling no larger than a banana, in the blink of an eye, colossal green orbs are mounding up across the yard, spreading to occupy what feels like half the garden.

I was finally blessed with ripe melons once I waited for the leaves around the stem to turn brown. I thought my first, unripe melon was heavy, but my ripe melon was no comparison! That sucker weighed at least twice as much as my cat… so, 25 lbs? Is that possible? (I wish I had a scale.) When I plunked it down in the sink for a rinsing, my entire sink moved. That’s right! The weight of the thing nearly knocked my sink loose from the countertop (and this is a new, rock solid countertop, not an ancient one). I have never in my life seen a kitchen sink move, but this watermelon brought it to a shake.

Aside from its massiveness, I found another surprise in my hulking fruit. I placed (or, rather, dropped) it on my cutting board. Using my longest, thickest knife, I prepared for a major cutting event. As I began to plunge my knife into the green flesh, I jumped—afraid—like a child holding a balloon that pops.

Pow! My watermelon exploded, ripping open from end to end—all from a mere piercing. Only a short inch of the tip of my knife had met with the melon, yet upon impact, it exploded with release, bursting with the freshness that only a newly picked watermelon can produce. All that pent up ripeness just waiting to feed me.

That watermelon explosion might be one of my favorite kitchen experiences! It’s such an adrenaline-filled moment, totally out of the ordinary from the usual cutting and chopping routine. And it never gets old—even when I know it’s coming. It always shocks me, as I jump backward, afraid I’m being fired upon from the kitchen counter top.

In fact, I have been known to hand the knife over when visitors are present for the surgery. “No, really, you do the honors,” I insist. Then I clap like a school girl as I watch them jump away when the explosion occurs.

This experience, however, cannot outweigh the shear joy of that first, crisp bite. The firm fruit of a garden-grown, freshly picked watermelon is incomparable to anything you’ll find in the supermarket. Each bite crunches smoothly, while your throat is coated with sweet liquid. Refreshing. Reviving. Crisp heaven in a giant, green orb.

Garden watermelon: this is my big, pink happiness.

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