This is what Memorial Day looked like in our town.
All parades in Valley City march right past our house. I told our landlord if we ever move he won’t have any trouble renting to another family with small kids as long as he promotes the “prime parade viewing” component of the house.
We had no idea there was to be a parade that morning until we noticed the throngs of cars parked on the street when we sat down to breakfast. This is what that looked like.
Viewing a parade while standing or sitting on the curb is apparently an antiquated practice and the majority of residents choose to take in the spectacle from the comfort of their running car. We take a more traditionalist view and enjoy actually sitting outside. This can be tricky however with everyone jockeying for a parking spot so the moment we noticed the hubbub Armando rushed to the front door to verify with a passerby if there was indeed a parade. ‘Yes’, she said. ‘At 10:30′. With that he took off to the backyard to fetch the lawn chairs and place them curbside, marking our territory and preventing anyone from parking in front of our house.
The parade was a modest affair—dedicated strictly to honoring our troops, it lasted about 10 minutes. Louisa called it a non-parade because no candy was thrown. How do you explain to a 4-year-old why a normal candy-pelting parade is not exactly appropriate when memorializing the dead?
After the marching bands shuffled by playing the requisite patriotic music and the parked cars took to the streets again we packed it up and went back in the house. I had bought a gigantic watermelon last week—not sure what I was thinking with that one—but as I walked in through the back porch, I saw it sitting there and remembered this salad I had spotted over at Better Homes and Gardens about a thousand years ago last summer.
Inspired, I took to the kitchen, enormous watermelon in tow and created this lovely, lovely salad. Hot pink watermelon, creamy orange apricots, cool green cucumbers, this is one salad that actually does look as good as it tastes. It’s kind of a fruit salad….and kind of not. It’s sweet like you’d expect a fruit salad to be, but the fresh ginger and chile add an unexpected kick that is more suited to the dinner table than the brunch buffet.
I brought this to a Memorial Day shindig where it was served alongside shrimp tacos and such, but this could go with just about any grilled offering, just make a little extra to slip into your lunch sack the next day.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 pounds seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 pound apricots, quartered and pits removed
- 1/2 large English cucumber
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced shiso leaves or a combination of cilantro and basil
- Combine sugar, vinegar, ginger, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid (like a Mason jar), add vegetable oil, olive oil, sesame seeds, and sesame oil and shake until combined. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Arrange watermelon and apricots on a large platter. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumber into long ribbons, stopping when you get to the seeds in the middle. Turn the cucumber and start from the other side, stopping again when you get to the seeds in the middle. Repeat until all your left with is the core of seeds. Take one cucumber ribbon, twist it into a tight spiral and tuck it in among the watermelon. Repeat until all the cucumber ribbons are gone. Sprinkle the shiso leaves over the salad, drizzle about half of the dressing over the salad. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.