Sweet Heat Relief

I have some great childhood memories of  summertime. Big hits: swimming or jumping around in the sprinkler spray, chasing fireflies, and playing flashlight tag until the porch light flashed on and off (the signal that it was time to drag our sweaty, grimy butts home). I remember listening hard for the tinkly sound of the Merry Mobile and running inside, screaming, “It’s the ice cream man! It’s the ice cream man!” and pleading with Mama for change for “the ice cream man.” We were only successful about two days out of six, but it was always worth a try.

Another favorite summertime memory is the sound of a fresh, cold watermelon being sliced open. That satisfying thwack! as the knife cut through was followed by the sweet, sweet scent of watermelon-y goodness. I swear, the temperature felt like it dropped 10 degrees with that first cut. We had them fairly regularly, since almost everyone in my neighborhood had family with a farm nearby, and watermelons were a community food, meant to be shared. Refrigerators were small then, and once cut, the melon needed to be eaten. So it was common for a neighbor to call out, “We’re cutting a couple watermelons tonight. Y’all c’mon over!” And we almost always did!

Watermelon(photo credit: viralbus on flickr)

These impromptu gatherings were never fancy. Adults would take lawn chairs, which, for some reason I’ve never understood, would always be arranged in a circle so that they all faced one another. (Or a half-circle, if my family was playing host, because our back yard backed up to the neighborhood Little League field and there was likely to be a game in progress.) Their melons were served in wedges and eaten with forks, seeds flicked into the grass before eating. Kids got slices of watermelon, no forks necessary. We just bit into it and let the juice flow where it wanted. Seed-spitting was required. Inevitably some kid would swallow a seed, the signal for other kids to share horror stories of people who died from the massive pain of having watermelons growing in their bellies. And then, of course, the swallower would burst into tears and have to be taken home early. It was all fine by us, as that meant more lighting bugs for the rest of us to catch.

Ah, the good old days. Minus the mosquito and chigger bites that usually resulted from these events.

I bought my first watermelon of the season on Monday, but I’m not sharing. Not because I’m stingy, but because these days and in my neighborhood, having people over involves bowls and napkins and forks and drinks, and besides, I’ve got this nice big refrigerator with plenty of space for storage.

With a goodly portion of the U.S. in the throes of a heatwave, it seems like a good time to share some recipes for watermelon treats I found recently:
Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Slush

Cucumber-Watermelon Salad (two refreshing treats together–yummy!)

If you’re not into watermelon (I’ve heard that some people aren’t), you might find some healthy sweet heat relief in these 15 So Good Frozen Desserts. I’m going to Target later today to buy some popsicle molds for the Quick and Easy Banana Pops. I might make some watermelon popsicles, too. Not quite the same as the Merry Mobile, but it should be nice and refreshing.

If you’ve got any refreshing sweet treat recipes, now would be a good time to share them. Here, or on your blog, just let us know where to find them.

19 thoughts on “Sweet Heat Relief

  1. I share so many of these great memories and just the other day passed the ice cream truck and forgot that I meant to blog about it. Isn’t it funny that watermelon now is seedless so those spitting days are over? I remember my dad eating his slice off a plate, cutting it with a knife, and using that same knife instead of a fork to put pieces into his mouth. My mom hated him doing that!

  2. personally I’d go for the watermelon salsa – I love throwing fruit into salsa, and I’m not even a sweet mixed w savory person…

    My husband hates watermelon so my stepson & I have to both be in the mood before I buy one – because it’s just him & me & a giant red beast. But we can both do some serious damage to a watermelon…

  3. I remember the good ole days of the ice cream truck and yes, I had my share & more! :-) Love that watermelon too!!!! I grew up back east with yards & no fences & such until high school so I recall the block partys & running thru all the backyards & people getting together. Not so much like that here in my crazy area. Sometimes ya never meet your neighbors!

    Thx for the great recipe links! YUM!

  4. Love Flash Light Tag! and isn’t watermelon the best!

    Thanks for the fabulous post!

  5. Ohhhh….. those were the days…… I didn’t live in the country, but we did watermelon spittin’ in the city, too. And sat on lawn chairs, waiting for the bus go by and create a breeze.

    Did the rumor go around every year that Medical Research would pay a penny per lightening bug? We filled jars full of lightening bugs for this purpose! Where do we mail them to? How will they stay alive? What is the address for Medical Research????

    Sadly, many firefly lives were lost in this greedy endeavor.

    We had Mr. Softee. He was kind of a creepy looking conehead, but we adored his treats.

    Thanks, Cammy, for these memories of simpler times. After spending a day with a sick computer at work, it’s nice to remember that life used to be fun……

  6. I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t like watermelon. At all. :) But I’m getting jealous of all the heat you have up there in the northern hemisphere. I could use some down here… Anywho, my fav sweet, cool treat is green grapes put into the freezer for just a little bit so they are extra cold when you eat them.

    Now excuse me while I find a healthy alternative to hot chocolate. Brr.

  7. I just got my first watermelon this summer, too! And a cantaloupe! Love melons, but I’ve been so distracted with all the delicious strawberries and blackberries out there. I love summer produce!

  8. I think we are on watermelon number 8 this year – seriously! Love them.

  9. I could go for a watermelon slush RIGHT NOW. When I was a kid, my folks used to salt the watermelon wedges. Why???? Oh, and I was the best watermelon seed spitter in the ‘hood. Ahhh, such memories!

  10. Your post sure brought back my own memories, except we weren’t allowed to spit the seeds. Prim and proper. Argh.

    Got a watermelon sitting on my counter. We’re gonna eat it this weekend. Every delicious juicy morsel. And we won’t share either.

    Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

  11. It is so hot here that I wouldn’t mind slicing up a watermelon and placing nice cool slices all over myself!

  12. I do love me some watermelon! I cut into one yesterday and promptly cut a slice off the end of my pinky!

    I posted a pineapple salsa recipe yesterday on my blog that is light and so refreshing over some white fish.

    Right now I find that some fresh berries, melons or peaches are perfect for a summer dessert.

  13. Not much of a watermelon guy myself…. however, my wife and kids LOVE it…. eat it whenever they can.

    Hey…. you’re in luck…. I saw a report on the news this morning that watermelon prices are down as much as 30% from last year—– go get you one!!!

    Thanks for the other recipes.


  14. LOVED the back yard watermelon-mosquitoes-chiggers memories that surfaced from my youth as I read your post! I’m going right out to buy a watermelon and English cucumber… Gotta try that one!

  15. my daughter really loves watermelon.She ate it all the time.Now im checking on your website it seems theres a lot of information on how to make watermelon recipes..thanks for sharing the recipe I will try it.

  16. I am not a huge watermelon fan, but I have considered buying one to put in my smoothies. :) I loved the post today, I could almost picture it!

Comments are closed.