Saturday, June 28, 2008

Get your Ripe, Juicy Watermelon Here!

I remember the watermelon man driving slowly through my small North Carolina town shouting, "Watermelon! Get your watermelon heah!" Folks would come out of their homes and buy them straight off the pick up truck including my grandfather. I remember he would buy a watermelon, put it in the cooler, and we would slice that baby open when the time was right. Yes, we would have ourselves a cool, sweet ol’ time. There is nothing like sweet, cold watermelon in the summertime. I know, black folks just love watermelon, right. Well, wait a minute because white folks love it too as well as Asians and Latinos -- everyone loves watermelon! Well, maybe not everyone but you understand.

The love for this famous melon dates back 5,000 years when Africans grew it along the Nile Valley (Today known as Egypt and the Middle East). African explorer, David Livingston (1813-1873), describe It as being abundant in the Kalahari desert where it was thought to have originated; there, it grows wild. In America, it arrived via the slave trade. Thomas Jefferson grew it and boasted of its sweetness as compared to his French counterparts. Confederate soldiers use to boil it down as a source of sugar and molasses.

In Africa, where it still grows, many tribes have used it for centuries as a source of water during times of drought. Enslaved Africans in America naturally loved its taste because many of them had it as a source of food in their homeland. Today, many of us get excited when we are in a foreign place and we see food familiar to us. I can imagine the Africans in America getting all excited when they were able to eat their native melon.

This, of course, made it easy for others to create negative stereotypes associated with that love for their native melon. Well, that is all I have to say about the native African vine (scientifically known as Citrullus lanatus). Go to your local market and grab yourselves a tasty watermelon or some other fresh fruit.

Note: Now, researchers have found that watermelon has a viagra like ingredient called Citrulline that increases sex drive. Well, like I said...

Get your ripe, juicy watermelon here!

Sources:,, yahoo news
Watermelon photo: Scotland Neck, N.C., Stephen Bess


Geoffrey Philp said...

Stephen, my mouth is watering.


Robyn said...

Doesn't get much better than that on a hot summer day.

Peace, truth and love...

Tafari said...

I used to love watermelon but as I got older, lost the desire to eat it. Every now & them I will see a watermelon stand here in Detroit & it is always off the chain.

In regards to fired chicken, I found go for a spicy 2 piece right not just on GP.


Cergie said...

Don't believe that, Stephen, my husband doesn't like watermelon at all, nor my son Etienne
They don't like cucumber, melon, all what contains too much water.

I know a Vietnamese tale about them : a family was unjustly exiled to an isle and there had to cultivate the ground. It was difficult, they got plenty watermelons and put them on the flowing water, so they arrived at the town from which they had been driven and everyone was happy and enjoyed.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Hello, brother. You know that I had mine before the weekend was over.

So true.

Now you're talking. They can call me what they want.

First, it is good to see you. I love that Vietnamese story. Fantastic.

Babz Rawls Ivy said...

HHmmm YUMMY! Watermelon is my FAVORITE! I think watermelon is DIVINE!

Great history lesson too! You really ought to offer a certificate at the end of a year for you rhistory lessons! I always come away feeling smarter!

Stephen A. Bess said...

lol! I'm happy that you can take something with you when you stop by. Good to see you. :)

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

man aint nothing like a field of watermellons

Sumeeta said...

I haven't eaten watermelon in years, but after reading your post, I just might have to buy one!

Big hugs back to you and tell your beautiful wife that I am wishing her a happy belated birthday. Incidentally, our birthdays are on the same day!

the prisoner's wife said...

i love it!

i still remember my grandpa buying one off the fruit truck (yes, we even had them in LA) and getting all excited for him to slice it open. i love watermelons. for me, they SCREAM ..."it's summer!".

Crankyputz said...

Watermelon happens to be my fruit for the summer...mainly because I can afford the new price of Alfanso Mangoes...

Professor Zero said...

Is it a Southern thing? My Maryland grandfather, very white, was famous for his favorite meal: fried chicken, biscuits, and watermelon.

In Mexico and in my house we make watermelon juice: put it in the blender with a little water and honey. It is the most ideal thing for a hot day!!!

Professor Zero said...

P.S. Here in Peru they did a study of watermelon, the paper says. It has a lot of health benefits and also carries natural versions of the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis - LOL!

EKENYERENGOZI Michael Chima said...

I love eating watermelons.

Your blog is like an online magazine of interesting things.

Cheers and God bless.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Ahh...yes. :)

Thanks for the hugs. I will pass on the msg to my wife.

Trucks in LA? Well, you can take a person out of the country, but you can't take the country out of them. :)

Ooooh...I love mangoes. Too high, huh?

Your grandfather and I would get along just well at the dinner table. :)

Yes, so funny about viagra and watermelon. That would explain some other stereotypes.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Thanks for stopping by. Don't be a stranger. God bless.

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I never knew that it came from Africa but I'm not surprised. A lot of food that we eat here today came from Africa.

It's amazing how some things are the same everywhere. That man hollering, 'watermelon, get yo' watermelon heah' can be right here.

We bought half a water melon yesterday, it's perfect, right texture, crisp and sweeeeeeeeet.

Sheba Brooks Moore said...

wow...what a cultural treat I am missing out on...Being here from the west...I have never thought that water melon was sold like this...In Japan, there are street vendors who sell sweet potatoes aka Yams...they yell,
Yakimo! Yakimo!...which translates to Yams! Yams!...

We must be distant cousins...they love watermelons as much as we do too...


Anonymous said...

You just taught me an awful lot about one of my favorite fruits. I enjoy watermelon, and I take a perverse pleasure in showing up at the check out counter with three or four mini-sized melons in my cart.

Yes, I think, Black people really do enjoy watermelon sometimes, and there's not a thing wrong with that.

fitzgerald said...

I keep coming back and reading this, each time I get hungry for some cool sweet watermelon. I've got to go and get me one now, they don't grow them out here on the West Coast like they use to back home in Louisiana. I hope you and yours are enjoying the holiday weekend. Stay blessed!

Stephen A. Bess said...

It sounds good. I'm sure that they're really tasty where you are.

Good to see you! Thanks for the education. I didn't know that about Japan. "Yakimo!" lol I love it.

Thanks, brother. I had a really good weekend. I went to all types of picnics for this and that community. Yesterday, it was Malawian picnic. Good people and good food. I hope you had a great one. Peace~

Stephen A. Bess said...

I almost missed you! Thanks for the comment. You're not playing with the melons, huh. lol. That's cool. I agree...there's nothing wrong with it.

Shelly- Mom Files said...

very interesting story!

Kyra said...

Ahh watermelon! Great pics. I once created a rather RACY quilted wallhanging with watermelon slices as the main feature.

Best, Kyra

christina said...

I love them! Watermelon is such a summer treat. Although they are perfect just the way they are, the chef in me can't help but make a watermelon mojito every once in a while :)

I hope you have been well, friend.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Thanks and welcome.

That sounds like a wonderful quilt. I need to come by and see your quilts.

That watermelon mojito sounds good. :)

Anonymous said...

I am a southern girl, and I absolutely love a good ole sweet watermelon! Lol. My grandparents used to grow watermelons, and of course there were times we would just purchase them from the farmers market or the neighborhood country store. There is nothing like a nice, sweet, watermelon on a hot summer's day. I love the fact that you included a little history about the watermelon and it's scientific name. In many places, watermelon has been associated with African Americans, and is only seen as a fruit that African Americans eat. Hopefully we can all move beyond that and just enjoy a nice slice together at any time, no matter what the color of our skin! Thanks for sharing.


Unknown said...

yesssss! had my 'mellon on the beach today. with ice cold MGD. perfect blend. ;-)

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