Sinking my teeth into a cool slice of watermelon, I thought to myself, "This is heavenly". I was reminded of something Mark Twain once said about watermelons and angels, so I reached for a favorite book of culinary quotes. The book fell open to the page I was seeking, and there it was, "When one has tasted watermelon, one knows what angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented."
I appreciate the wit and wisdom of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, although if he were in San Francisco this August he might not have delivered his famous line about "the coldest winter ever, being a summer in San Francisco." Instead he might have written about toasty warm sunshine and cooling slices of watermelon.
As a child, growing up in the heat and humidity of the Northeast, watermelon and summer were synonymous. Here summers—at least in our little pocket of the Bay Area—are mostly foggy and cold. But, not this summer. This summer we're having heat. And, I'm eating watermelon.
Mostly I cut it in chunks and eat it with my fingers. Sometimes I toss the chunks into a blender, add a few ice cubes, and make the most luscious, cooling juice. For lunch I cut thin slices of cold melon into triangles, trim off the rind, and place them in a sunburst pattern on a dinner plate. Then I top the melon with cucumber slices, splash everything with fresh lime juice, and sprinkle crumbled feta, chopped mint, and dill on top.
The other day, our neighbors left a recipe for a watermelon "gazpacho" they had tasted at an organic farmer's market in Atlanta, Georgia tucked under the windshield wiper of my car. An exotic blend of watermelon—presumably the sumptuously sweet variety Mark Twain makes reference to—
Campari, and orange juice, it inspired me to try my hand at making watermelon soup, too.
With no real game plan in mind, I pureed chunks of cold seedless watermelon, minced fresh ginger, chopped jalapeno, fresh lime juice, and salt in the blender. The taste was refreshing, but not quite soup. Feeling adventurous, I cubed up an especially ripe and juicy tomato and pureed it into the mixture. One taste and I knew I was onto something, but the soup needed texture. Inspired by the memories of chunky style gazpacho, I stirred in diced tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, and red onion. Later that evening we slurped bowls of cold watermelon soup for supper.
The next day I whipped up a second batch. Since soup won't fit under a windshield wiper, I pretended to be the watermelon angel, and left a container on our neighbors' doorstep.