Friday, September 26, 2008

My Proustian moment: watermelon with seeds

I should have written this post a few weeks ago when it was still summer and my Proustian moment was fresh in my mind. But other things intervened, so please forgive me for being somewhat out of season.

Already you might be asking, what does watermelon have to do with anything?

Well, a few weeks ago, I bought a small round watermelon from a local farm stand. When I cut it open, I was surprised to see that it was the old variety with black seeds. My heart jumped with joy. (Sorry…slight exaggeration.) In my neck of the woods, it is nearly impossible to find watermelon with seeds.

With great anticipation, I cut it open and took a bite, and sure enough, the flavor was crisp and sweet, unlike seedless watermelon, whose taste I can only describe as “anemic.” As I relished the sight of the bright color (not the pale pink of seedless watermelons), I was transported back to summers before anything serious had happened to me.

It wasn’t even that long ago. I could picture sitting outside with my children, everyone spitting seeds onto the grass, juice dripping down our chins. And of course I could see myself doing it as a kid, having contests with the other kids to see who could spit the seed further. Sure it was messy, but it was fun.

Seedless watermelons, of course, aren’t exactly seedless. I read that those white seeds are just seed coats and would never develop into a mature watermelon. They are, in fact, edible. One thing they aren’t is good for spitting onto the grass.

Seedless watermelon has been marketed widely since the 1980s, although it was developed years earlier. I’m all for modern conveniences, so I might sound kind of hypocritical here. After all, I eat seedless grapes and use self-adhesive stamps and envelopes.

But they’ve done a good job making seedless grapes, and I doubt that many people associate good memories with grape seeds.

And as for licking envelopes, everyone familiar with a famous "Seinfeld" episode knows that if the glue is cheap, licking envelopes can kill you.


PJ said...

I haven't licked an envelope since my transplant. Think of what that flap might have come into contact with!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, I sure agree with you on the black-seeded watermelon. What sweet, sticky memories!

Anonymous said...

One summer at a picnic in Arkansas my brothers and I had a piece of the best watermelon ever; red and sweet with black seeds. I didn't realize that the old fashioned kind was now hard to find. I'm going to hunt for some tomorrow. Sounds good!

Carl said...

Thanks for checking out my blog, Ronni. I liked yours so much I added it to the list of blogs on my site:

susiegb said...

Hmm - you can buy seedless watermelons here in Oz, but I don't think they've really caught on. The vast majority are the dark pink with black seeds type. Great for eating on the beach!! So you can wash your hands in the surf ... ah summer, it's coming, it's coming!

Anonymous said...

I remember the contests of who can spit seeds the farthest. That was fun and rather gross sounding as I recall. I can also remember driving along, rolling down the window "just a little" spitting out through the opening, then seeds ricocheting back into my face off the glass because I missed the opening. That annoyed me.