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10 September 2012

Melon (Cantaloupe) Juice and Gourdon of Alpes-Maritimes, France


Three days to go and school starts in this side of the world too.  I had been looking at numerous photos of my friends' children on their first day of school in the U.S. the past month and I had been thinking that my kids still have a lot of time left in their summer vacation.  I was taking it easy.  There was still a full month to go.  Then three weeks, two, one and now, three days.  In three short days, I have a lot of scheduled stuff crammed.  My son's first sleepover with a friend in our house, two birthdays to put together and organizing my kids' school essentials. 


And the remaining days are officially fully booked.  I am in dire need of a second set of hands to help me get through this week alive.  I think it's just apt that I use the overused line, "Where did the time go? 


Except for my daughter, we all turned one year older this summer.  She, on the other hand, is taking a big step too.  She is starting kindergarten and looking forward to this big girl theme we had been implanting in her mind.  Toilet training, coloring, eating, cleaning up were all part of the road to independence for the smallest member of our family.  And I can happily relay to you, she did everything with success.  


One season had been like a year for me.  We have all grown and spent another season completely immersed in family time.    Oftentimes, I found myself in a pit, struggling to keep that iota of sanity within grasp.  I mean, two kids who spend their idle days at home running up and down the corridor, shouting to each other with megaphonic voices was not my idea of fun and tranquility.  Wrong word.  A house with two kids does not know what tranquility means.  Sigh.


So, how did we keep everyone happy all these months?  Build up the big pool, spend the days alternating between the pool and the beach.  Yes, for once, we acknowledge the fact that we live by the beach.  And what did we get at the end of it all?  Two kids burned to crisps.  Very brown, dark, interminable smell of chlorine and sea, salt & sand in every crack of....everything!  And every mother's nightmare, wet clothes, wet towels, wet sandals and the evident tenfold increase of  the laundry. 


But hey, I love summer and that goes to this particular one.   In a foodie sort of way, I have  prepared an ode to this special summer, but the edible kind.  This melon juice from my childhood epitomized summer for me.  You might find it strange that even in countries with tropical weather, there is also a season that is referred to as summer.  This is technically the dry season because the only other season is the rainy season which is the wet one.   That means no winter, autumn or spring. 


This is a very simple drink using three ingredients.  Water, melon and sugar.  Mint if you feel like adding a twist to the taste.  The pulp is shaped like spaghetti alla chitarra (fat, squarish spaghetti) using a special tool called melon scraper that I requested a friend to take to me from the Philippines.   She gave me two.  Oh bless her!  Prior to this,  I have tried using my grater with the biggest holes with very unsatisfactory results.  Then I settled on the melon baller which had better results but still not how it is really. 



Here's another town that I had been meaning to share with you but never got around to include in any of my posts.  It's one of the towns I visited when I was in France last July.  Gourdon of Alpes-Maritimes (There are two Gourdons in France.  The other one is in Lot, southwest of France.) is an ancient feudal village located on top of a cliff looking straight down, at 500 meters, to the Gorges du Loup.  




This ends another summer season.  Even if I am still in my summer garb and still enjoying the last warmth of the season, I feel that autumn is already stepping in.  The pool goes down, the kids go to school and everything goes back to normal. 

I hope you all enjoyed your summer!



 

Melon (Cantaloupe) Juice

Ingredients:
  • 1 melon or cantaloupe
  • about 5 cups cold water (depending on how you want the juice to be)
  • sugar 
  • mint (optional)
  • ice (optional)
Directions:
  1. Cut melon in half.  Scoop out seeds and the soft pulp at the center and transfer them to a fine strainer that is positioned on top of a bowl.
  2. Pour half of the water in the sieve while mashing the pulp and seeds with the back of a spoon.  
  3. Discard seeds.
  4. Transfer liquid to a pitcher.
  5. Carve out the pulp with a melon stripper to make noodle-like strips or if you don't have one, use a melon baller (but melon strips are better in this juice).
  6. Transfer everything to the pitcher along with the remaining water.  
  7. Sweeten with sugar according to taste.  Add ice if needed.