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Monday, July 31, 2006

Crazy for melons

I'm researching melons for a story that will run in the Food section next week and suddenly I'm dreaming melons -- canteloupe (my all-time favorite), organic honeydew, pink-fleshed (actually orange) honeydew, Crenshaw, Galia, Ambrosia (too sweet for me). The list is endless. Then there are watermelons -- personal, seedless, seeded, yellow, Baby Doll -- not as many varities, but according to produce managers, the most popular fruit in the summer.

However, I haven't yet come across answers to a curious custom that seems to cut across ethnic lines. When I was growing up, my second-generation German-immigrant relatives put salt on watermelon and pepper on canteloupe. I've talked to other people whose families reversed that -- pepper on watermelon, salt on canteloupe. It's not difficult to see where the impetus comes from. Salt or pepper would offset and even heighten a melon's sweetness. But how did they decide which one got the salt and which got the pepper?

Posted by Alison Arnett at 06:11 PM
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