Watermelon is a delightful food: hydrating, sweet, and great for eating outdoors with your friends while Carly Rae Jepsen plays in the background.
This is precisely why we must stop disrespecting it.
Now, I do not think watermelon recipes are disrespectful, per se. Watermelon juice, watermelon feta salad, watermelon sorbet, and watermelon-jalapeo beverages are all delicious. I am talking about all the weird shit we have decided it’s OK to do to watermelons turning them into drink dispensers and skinning them for party tricks, for example.
Friends … it’s just not right.
Let me first address the melon booze dispenser, a time-consuming and sticky craft that is extremely likely to go wrong one big crack in the melon and you must abandon ship. The trend has become so ubiquitous that several retailers, including Amazon, sell spigots specifically made for watermelon kegs. Williams-Sonoma sells a “Watermelon Tap Kit” for $24.95.
If you simply must hollow out a fruit so you can put vodka in it, follow your heart. And, yes, it’s compostable, which is cool. But if your primary objective is to make a beverage vessel, do you really have a use in mind for all that excess, squished-up melon? Is it really not going to go to waste? Maybe you do that’s great! (Gazpacho is good.) But if not, perhaps consider using a regular dispenser instead. Bonus: you won’t have to invest in a loose spigot gathering up dust and taking up drawer space for most of the year.
Similar caution should be taken with the Jell-O watermelon, which is basically a massive Jell-O shot cut into slices. Not only is this a recipe for a drunken disaster it’s hard to tell how much alcohol you’re consuming when it’s in slice form but it also wastes the poor, sad watermelon flesh, which isn’t incorporated into the Jell-O itself.
Worst of all, there are watermelon “popsicles.” The most egregious thing about watermelon popsicles is that they’re not even frozen. They are just slices of watermelon that have a little hole in the rind, so you can put a stick in there. This is supposed to be “kid-friendly,” but as someone still occasionally fooled by child-proof bottles of Tylenol it seems a lot harder than just holding a slice of melon.
When did we as a society become afraid of rind-to-hand contact?
Finally, do not get me started on the terrible “skinned watermelon” party trick, which surfaced last summer and has been periodically disturbing me ever since. For the love of god, do not do this to watermelons. After you put your grimy prank hands all over it, who’s going to want to eat it? No one.
No. If you really want to celebrate watermelons, do the following: cut one into slices and eat the slices. Put on “Run Away with Me.” Also, eat a hot dog. It’s gonna be great! And you don’t need to buy a spigot.