Meditation: On Watermelon

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Nothing heralds summer quite like watermelon. It’s quenching as is, not so sweet as to be cloying, but for extra relief from the doldrums, try a slice with a dash of cayenne or a pinch of salt for depth. Plus, watermelon is just fun to eat: if you’re too old to enjoy spitting watermelon seeds off the stoop, into the yard, or onto your neighbor, you have my sympathies. But the best thing about watermelon is it’s just too big to eat by yourself: it’s a fruit that inspires community and signals plenty, as in the opening lines of Anne Sexton’s “The Big Heart”:

Big heart,
wide as a watermelon,
but wise as birth,
there is so much abundance
in the people I have:
Max, Lois, Joe, Louise,
Joan, Marie, Dawn,
Arlene, Father Dunne,
and all in their short lives
give to me repeatedly,
in the way the sea
places its many fingers on the shore,
again and again
and they know me,
they help me unravel,
they listen with ears made of conch shells,
they speak back with the wine of the best region….

–Anne Sexton, from “The Big Heart


But, broadband notwithstanding, it’s hard to share a watermelon over the internet, so instead I’ll share this recipe for watermelon salsa:

Watermelon Salsa

juice of three limes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cups chopped seeded watermelon
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 jicama, peeled and chopped
1 chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 minced seeded jalapeño chilies (or to taste)
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

–Mix it all up and enjoy!

(adapted from Steven Raichlen, Bon Appétit, July 2000)