Fried watermelon

Rick Ryckeley's picture

I can testify that we in the South consume lots of strange things. Dad used to say that we eat every part of the pig except the squeak. Ears, tails, feet and snouts — it seems we have strong stomachs. Did I mention we eat those, too?

Pickled this and fried that, it’s amazing we all don’t weigh 500 pounds. It’s no wonder we lost the Civil War. If only we’d fed those Yankees more ham, grits, and lard biscuits, they’d have been too full to do all that marching, much less any fighting. The outcome would have been decidedly different, and they all would know what grits are.

Now there is one food Southerners don’t fry, and that’s watermelon. Sure, we may spike it every now and then, but for the most part, it’s actually healthy.

The rules of watermelon eating have been handed down within Southern families for decades, but their origins can be traced back to when Water P. Melon first introduced the seeds to the colonists.

We all know Thomas Jefferson, the gentleman farmer from Virginia, gave each new settler clippings from grape vines and instructed them on how to plant and cultivate the grapes. (Some of the finest wines I’ve tasted came from Virginia.) What’s not widely known is that after a successful watermelon harvest, Water P. Melon also taught the colonists the rules of eating the huge melon.

The first rule is to start off with the right melon. You can pick a round one, dark green in color, or the more popular green, striped, torpedo-shaped one. The round green one has ruby red meat full of the best spitting seeds this side of the Mason-Dixon Line, but it’s difficult to cut. With a pink meat, torpedo melons are easily cut into wedges, but the seeds won’t travel as far in a spitting contest.

Whichever one you choose, the next rule is perhaps the most important. The melon must be ice cold before cutting. Water dunked his melons half a day in a river for chilling. If you don’t have access to a river, three hours in a refrigerator will do nicely.

The next rule is how the melon should be cut. Torpedo melons can either be cut in half lengthwise or across the middle. Once cut in half, they’re cut in half again so you are left with only wedges. Round melons don’t lend themselves to wedge cutting. Round ones are cut in half, then every two inches cut again, and then in half. The resulting half circle of melon is easily handled by the smallest of hands.

This brings us to the next rule: how it should be eaten. Without exception, all melons should be eaten with salt. I know salt has been used as a preservative for meat, but it was used first to salt melons.

Next, unless you’re competing in an eating contest with your hands tied behind your back, melons should be eaten with a knife. Be careful, or you’ll know the origin of the expression “to speak with a forked tongue.” After salting, slice off a chunk, pick out the seeds with the knife and enjoy.

But if you’re practicing for the seed-spitting contest, you should follow the last rule: you must choose the right seeds. The seeds from the round, dark green melons are preferable because of their heavier weight and aerodynamic shape.

By following Water P. Melon’s simple rules, you will be assured of a win at every July 4th celebration and have one heck of a good time.

Fried watermelon? Hmmm ... now that’s something this Southern boy is going to look into.

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Submitted by sageadvice on Sun, 07/06/2008 - 11:13am.

He never considered frying water melon since the batter wouldn't stick to the red stuff!
However Tom A, Towe. Jr., did pick red tomaters early when they were green, mix corn meal with eggs and slopt the slices of green tomater into the mess and fry the slices in a pan with about an inch of fatback grease in it until brown.
String E. Beans, also invented "shuck" beans by sewing them up whole onto a string and letting them dry out. Then tke out the actual beans and cook them separate from the "shucks", or hulls. Both were good.
Cor N. Cob, discovered that cooking corn in water when still green on the cob, was right tasty with salt and butter. One knawed it right of the cob.
Cab A. Age, an old timer in Alabama, let a batch of cabbage sour once and being hungry decided to eat it anyhow. It was about 1931.
What he discovered was that the sour cabbage made other bad food taste right good. Especially some smelly sausage from Wisconsin and corned beef! Unfit for human consumption, otherwise.
Chit E.R. Lings, discovered.....ever mind.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 6:00pm.

After reading the article in todays AJC where they have discovered that watermelon contains the same thing that makes Viagra-Viagra, I am sure there will be a run on watermelons. Do you supposed the FDA will have to run tests for a number of years before they deem it safe and will it now be sold by the pharmaceuticals at twenty times the normal cost---will children no longer be able to indulge and will Medicare okay it? Sure opens up a whole new can of worms doesn't it? Poor, little watermelon has gone on for years just doing it's thing--mom and/or dad going through the ritual of thumping and listening, icing it down and then the moment of truth, when the knife makes that first incision,that first juicy bite. For years it has been the one constant at every summer picnic or gathering--what will be it's fate now? Will fame and fortune ruin old faithful? Will it go the way of all things that become famous? Ah, for the good old days when a watermelon was just a watermelon and not an aphrodisiac!

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