Two of the greatest joys of summer are
And fresh garden tomatoes
Watermelon screams summer to me and always has. It was a regular family treat, to be eaten after chilling on ice and sliced into chunks on the backyard picnic table. So very cool and refreshing, so sweet and juicy, running down your chin and staining your t-shirt.
I know it has become a must-have, Fourth of July symbol but I’ve always thought the August and September Melons have the greatest flavor, and we usually buy more then. My wife and I bought a 16 pounder last night and about 10 pounds are left. I had watermelon for lunch. I’ve been known to eat watermelon for breakfast. I make a great Watermelon Ale. I think I’ll cook up a batch on Monday and it should be ready for drinking by the end of September.
I feel almost as strongly about tomatoes. Fresh from the vine, garden grown tomatoes. Not those flavorless, gritty, imposters decorating the shelve of your nearest supermarket, I’m talking about the kind of tomatoes your neighbor, or perhaps you, grow in your own garden, or the kind you can buy at farmer’s markets or your local food co-op right now. The kind bursting with tangy sweetness that you slice and serve with a little vinegar and oil, some fresh chopped basil, a little pepper, some slices of buffalo mozzarella and a good crust bread. A cold beer goes well (perhaps a watermelon ale) or a glass of good Chianti. This is food paradise, my friends. I think I’ve just planned dinner. Watermelon for dessert.
I seldom eat anything but canned or sun-dried tomatoes in the off-season. I know the stores are stocked year round with red imposter and I sometimes succumb to a pretty face, but I’m always disappointed.
One last word on watermelon. A few years ago a produce man of my acquaintance told me to purchase watermelon by choosing the melon that seemed to weigh the most relative to size. I’ve not had a bad melon since. I also like the new seedless varieties which seem to have taken over the market, but kids who had never had a watermelon seed spitting contest with their friends and siblings, are really missing something.