“I am the Watermelon Master” were the words I sputtered out to my dad between juicy bites of watermelon. We bicker over who has a deeper love for the refreshing red fruit every summer. The moment watermelon season hits stores, the two of us go bonkers. My mom doesn’t understand why we need to buy two at a time. “They’re on sale for five dollars! FIVE DOLLARS!” Dad will always back me up on this one; each of us will easily consume half a watermelon in one sitting. One sitting only lasts about ten minutes. So within that timeframe, my mom and brother better fill their bowls or else the entire watermelon will be devoured by my dad and I. He claims that I am Watermelon Master only because he is a Watermelon Master. I like to think that I’m worthy of the title in ways other than inheritance.
Disclaimer: Watermelon affinity is not an actual genetic trait.
Whenever the topic of watermelon comes up, Chew likes to bring up the watermelon eating contest from a youth race we participated in two years ago. The race consisted of many obstacles and mini games; first team to finish them all wins first place. We sprinted around the park, threw wet soap bars (ugh, this one took forever), sucked Jell-O through straws, threw hula hoops, hobbled through a five-legged race, and ate watermelon blindfolded. I was assigned as the eater, and Becky the feeder. Both of us were blindfolded while Chew and Pam stood on the side cheering and howling with laughter. I don’t recall much other than Becky smothering my entire face with melon, but apparently I chowed down the massive slab of watermelon in 3 bites. “You didn’t even need to chew!” That is why you never leave me alone with watermelon if you intend on having some yourself, it will disappear within seconds. Chew is begging me to re-enact the contest so she can film my lightning-fast eating and post it online. Well then.
Then there’s the one long weekend back in high school when Chew dragged me out to go rollerblading. It was totally out of the blue, but it was one of those glorious sunny Vancouver days so I obliged and dug out my rollerblades from grade four. Yes, grade four. It’s a wonder how my feet still fit comfortably inside. We arrived at our local park, coincidentally the same park the youth race took place, strapped on our rollerblades and got rollin’. Well, she got rolling and I had to put a lot of effort in to get my very rusty wheels to even rotate. Chew would speed down a hill screaming from lack of control and I would pretty much have to walk my way down. Clearly my rollerblades are useless now. It was too much a struggle to go around the park again, so we resorted to lounging around Chew’s house. On the way to the bus stop, we stopped by Superstore to pick up some mini watermelon, because that’s what normal people do after exercising right? Being the competitive person she is, Chew challenged me to a watermelon-eating contest. She was so sure she would finish her watermelon before me but I begged to differ. So once we hauled our rollerblades and watermelon up the hill back to her house, we hacked them open, grabbed a spoon, and commenced the contest.
Being a wallflower has its perks. People, even the ones sitting next to you, neglect to notice what you’re up to so you can work efficiently without disruption and then suddenly surprise them with how much you’ve accomplished. Chew just finished telling the story of how her and Pam were betting over who would be the first to comment on Eileen’s soon-to-be profile photo. To distract Pam, Chew casually asked her to check the weather. While Pam was Googling, Chew went ahead and submitted the first comment. Small victories, small victories. I guess karma came to bite her in the behind, because this is exactly what happened during our contest. I had just come back from Hawaii (aka the best vacation of my life) and she asked to see photos from the trip. While she was immersed in scrolling through my phone’s photo album, I continued to spoon watermelon into my mouth, adding an ‘mhm’ or ‘yeah’ every now and then. “DONE!” I exclaimed as I proudly presented my hollow watermelon rind. Chew’s was still half full. “NOT FAIR!” and she continued to complain about how I distracted her with my travel photos even though she’s the one that asked to see them. Again, I win.
At the grocery store, you’ll see customers slapping watermelons in attempt to pick the sweetest and juiciest melon. However, picking solely based on the low ‘thump’ is not reliable enough, at least based on the melons my mom purchases. The trick is to look for a deep green melon with a saturated yellow ‘belly’ that is heavy for its size, in addition to having a low ‘thump’ and rumbling vibration when you hit it. It’s a lot of factors to pay attention to. I got the yellow belly tip from a Youtube video and it works every time. (Oh the things I watch on Youtube…) I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single melon I bring home is super sweet, bright red, and mega delicious. #WatermelonPickingMaster
Although my aunt doesn’t believe I’m old enough to handle a kitchen knife (I’ll save that story for another post), my mom has passed down the watermelon-cutting duty to me. Enormous Chinese kitchen knife in hand (nothing like a French chef’s knife, go Google it.), I’ve experimented with countless ways to fulfill two goals: efficiency and perfect cubes. Now that I’ve mastered the method I first learned from Eat Your Kimchi, I can cube, box, and clean up in under 5 minutes. –shoulder brush- It used to take me up to half an hour to get this done, with juice and chunks of rind all over the counter. Not only am I the Watermelon Picking and Eating master, I am also the Watermelon Cutting Master. Because one can consume watermelon faster if it is cut into perfect cubes.
Did I successfully proclaim and defend my title? I may not be willing to share the title, but I am willing to share this Watermelon Basil Smoothie. All jokes aside, this is an ultra-hydrating drink that I make countless times throughout the summer. It also complies with the fruit combining rules so you’ll have a happy tummy too! I adore the combination of basil with watermelon because it adds another dimension that will stir people to ask “what is in this?” Watermelon, coconut water, and basil are all very refreshing summery flavours so it is the drink you’ll crave after a long day of biking, gardening, or outdoor exploration. A glass of Watermelon Basil Smoothie will cool and replenish your body with the H2O and electrolytes that were lost through perspiration.
- 5 cups cubed watermelon, chilled
- ½ cup fresh coconut water, chilled*
- 4 large fresh basil leaves
- Place all ingredients in a large blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
*Fresh coconut water is preferred, as it is sweeter and more pungent. However, canned coconut water may be substituted.