Hands down, one of my all-time favorite food items.
As far back as my memory can take me, I've loved these big, red, luscious things. I'm sure I was introduced to watermelon by my grandmother, Budgie, who raised me since I was ten. She loved it and would just get like a giggly school girl whenever one was cut open. I'm sure I picked up on that, as Budgie and I have been best friends since the day I was born.
At family picnics or get-togethers, we'd always have a watermelon. Budgie would call down to the local market and ask them to put one in their cooler so it would be cold when we'd pick it up. Small towns are like that.
Then, the time would come for the "watermelon unveiling." I'd hop up next to the table and a large knife was inserted. You could tell if a watermelon was ripe by the way it would craaack! open ahead of the knife blade, like a fissure opening up in an earthquake. Then, the two halves would fall apart, revealing the deep, red fruit.
Budgie would always let out a little scream of delight at that point.
Then we'd dig in. Budgie would always exclaim, "Oh, this is the best one we've had this year!"
And we'd always say, "Budgie! You always say that!"
And she'd reply, "Well it is!"
Budgie and I could polish off an amazing amount of watermelon. Seriously, we'd eat half a large one. No problem.
When I would come home from Austin or Dallas, my drive always took me through Luling, Texas, which is the watermelon capital of Texas. I'd always stop there and buy a famous "Luling Watermelon" from one of their many roadside stands and bring it home for Budgie and me.
We'd spend the afternoon with our watermelon, just the two of us. Eating watermelon together was a sacrament for us. The rest of the family knew it and would stand back, giving us plenty of room.
Budgie also loved sherbet. Every night, she'd have a big bowl of sherbet while we'd all be gathered around the TV, watching Mary Tyler Moore or All in the Family.
Those were such good memories. . . .
Now, I've developed my watermelon sorbet recipe (see below). I've eaten four bowls of it tonight and I keep thinking how much Budgie would have loved it. It's like a watermelon sherbet. Her two favorite things.
(Well, besides me, that is).
Here's a pic of Budgie and me at "watermelon-church", taken about ten years ago.