Friday, July 23, 2010
As a kid, I hated Summer. That's right, you heard me. I hated Summer. "How could you hate the warm, beachy, fun in the sun, ice cream eating, slip and sliding, jart throwing, skin blistering, sharks and minowy, picnic eating barbecue days of Summer" you ask? Well, I was grounded most Summers that's why. I would be sitting in my room, staring out into the cul de sac, watching all the neighborhood kids have water gun fight or playing kickball, thinking to myself "how did this happen, again?" Let's get one thing straight, I was a terrible little kid. Always in trouble. I can understand the years I was grounded for doing terrible things. Like flooding our entire house by stuffing towels into every sink and tub drain and turning all the water on full blast. I get that. Or the time I ordered my next door neighbor's kid to bash in all of the walls of his living room with a baseball bat. What can I say, I was a curious kid and I liked to see how things worked and see how far I could push people. Some people would call it maniacal semi-psychotic behavior. I say I was just trying to figure out the world. C'est la vi. We'll just have to agree to disagree. Pronounce potato and tomato anyway you like, I will still eat them.
So where was my mother during all this insane activity? It was the 70s. Back then, you left the house to go play around 11am and wouldn't return until dark. Parents didn't worry about about serial killers and kidnappers back then. The suburbs were safe, or so they thought. I would come home screaming with a broken arm and my mom would freak out but the very next day I'd be rolling around in a puddle of mud banging my cast on the concrete. That's just what it was like back then. I can't even remeber where half of my scars came from. It's probably for the best.
I can't remember why but one bright Summer day, I walked out of my solitary confinement cell to notice two giant watermelons on the kitchen table. For reasons unknown I grabbed a big knife and a whole watermelon, bringing it back to my room. I was 8 years old and I really loved watermelon. Like a deranged one-armed neurosurgeon I hacked into the melon getting it's juices all over myself, my carpet, and my bed. In one sitting I ate the entire watermelon (including the seeds). It turns out that the watermelons were for a church picnic. It also turns out that if you consume a whole watermelon in one sitting you will continue to see watermelon in projectile form for the rest of the evening. Although I tried my best to deny eating said watermelon as my my mother angrily stared at the pink stained crime scene. My room betrayed me like neon fruit blood bath, watermelon seeds stuck to the walls, the carpet covered in bright green rind and my pink slushy bedspread. To say the least I did not receive a pardon that year. I did pretty hard time the next few years. I wasn't always grounded but I don't remember seeing much sunshine as a kid. Did I reform? Not really, but perhaps now I'm just a little more clever at hiding the evidence.
It's taken many years, but I'm happy to say that I can enjoy watermelon again. There is nothing like a fresh slice of melon on a hot Summer day. Granted I can only eat a slice or two before I'm flooded with terrible pink technicolor memories but I do love it's sweet, crunchy flesh. My favorite thing to do with watermelon is contrast it with some sour and salty and make a lovely bright salad out of the fruit. Topped with a little feta or cotija cheese and a a sprinkle of crushed red pepper or chili powder , a drizzle of olive oil and lemon or lime juice and I'm all over it. There was a season of Top Chef where one of the contestants made a salad like this and the judges were pretty confused and baffled. They hadn't been told that they should understand these flavors yet. It's pretty hilarious because now it's a pretty trendy preparation. Just goes to show you, keep an open mind and eat food because you love the adventure of it. Just don't eat a whole watermelon. That's not an adventure worth having.