Monday, August 21, 2006

And How Would you Like Your Melon Served?

Nothing defines summer afternoons better than stuffing your face with a slice of watermelon over the sink. Just remember to surface every once in a while to breathe and spit out the black seeds. Other than that it’s just one endless session of slurp-ity slurp as long the fruit lasts. And if that is not disgusting enough you could lick the juices running down your elbows to some more swooshing and exclaiming. Hey! that’s why we do it in the confines of our kitchen because in company we might have to eat bite sized pieces of melon like a lady…how terribly boring!

Coming back to the point, it all starts with selecting the perfect watermelon. A ripe cantaloupe smells really ripe as does a ripe pineapple. So cantaloupe and pineapple lovers go sniff-sniff at the grocery store to select the one they will finally take home. However watermelon connoisseurs have no such luck because a ripe watermelon smells just like its unripe cousin on the next vine. This is where the thumping test comes in handy. I am not really sure it’s a great test because I am yet to meet a watermelon that does not produce a nice “thud” on being thumped. Yet I join in with the other clueless folks at the fruit stand and thump, slap, knock and even drum out a few beats on these heavy weights before settling for some random sample. The acoustically well endowed melon then sits in the refrigerator till its juicy red innards reach the right temperature. After that all you need is a knive (yes, you will need one because unlike Aamir Khan* our watermelons don’t cube themselves into perfect little packets of watermelon goodness while growing up) a couple of hacks, a lazy afternoon and on to watermelon nirvana.

* Remember that song from "Dil Hai ki Maanta Nahin" that had Aamir Khan hogging a whole melon while Pooja Bhat sulked in a corner and a ratchety song played in the background.


Anonymous said...

That's well-written prose. Me like it!
And yes, try this next time Anyesha (is that pronounced "Au-nnesha"? The "Au" somewhere between "A" and "O"? Never mind) .. Cut out a deep wedge from the full melon like they do on streetsides in India and fill it up with (Absolut) Vodka .. Leave it for 8 hrs in aamchi "fridge" .. And lo, what do we have! A "Drunk Watermelon" .. Cut into cubes and serve .. Nice timepass for a Sat'day afternoon get-together .. You could try gold tequila plus triple sec next time ..

Joy Forever said...

Lovely! You almost made me taste it. I think another way to recognize a ripe watermelon is to hold it near your ear and give it a good shake. If the seeds go "chic-chic" (remember the Chiclets ad?) then it is ripe.
And this is not fair... you do two posts a day while I can't even do one a week...

Kumari said...

I Luuuuuuuuurvvvvvvvve Watermelon.

Still remember that summer day in Pilani, in our psenti sem. one of the girls bought a watermelon and around 6 of us sat around it and devoured it in a matter of seconds :)

Rambler said...

I'm a huge watermelon fan myself. As per Karen Anand (among my fav Indian cooks and foodies), tips for picking a good melon are:

"Take a melon and hold it in the palm of your hand and choose the heaviest one full of flesh. Press the top of the melon gently with your thumb, if it yields, it is just ripe. If the fruit smells fragrant, it will be sweet."

Anyesha said...

anon: You got the pronounciation right! Now a drunk watermelon...that's a new one.

joy forever: Will have to do the chiclets test the next time around. But what about seedless varieties, which basically means 80 percent of the melons here?

kumari: We did that sometime in June 2001 when a bunch of us in Mumbai were planning to fly off to distant corners of the globe. We went to the market and brought ourselves a big watermelon and 3 kgs. of mangoes and polished them off for dinner. That incidentally was the last time I had Indian mangoes or watermelons.Now, look at what you have done.

rambler: hey! I have not met a fragrant watermelon yet, so how does this work?