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The Watermeltin' Days of Summer

The Watermeltin' Days of Summer

Old Fashioned Watermelon Socials

by Paula Deen

In the old days, Momma and Daddy would drag Bubba and me down to the church on Sunday mornings. We didn’t so much mind going to church—the people were real nice and I liked all the singing—but come August we’d give just about anything to strip down to our britches and go swimming in the pond. You see, that church got so hot that the devil himself must’ve been visiting. The daddies used their handkerchiefs to wipe the sweat from their foreheads and the mommas fanned themselves with the church programs as if their lives depended on it. It was so hot, you could pull a baked ‘tater right out of the ground.

In spite of our suffering, church got one thing right: watermelon socials. Picnic tables that overflowed with salads, homemade ice cream and juicy slices of cool watermelon were just the ticket on a hot summer day. I’d sit in the shade of an oak tree, leaning over a big slice and sink my teeth into it. It was so blistering hot, even the juice running down my arms felt like heaven. When our parents weren’t looking, us kids would take turns seeing who could spit the seeds the furthest. Let’s just say I didn’t lose very often.

This must be a timeless tradition, ‘cause my boys did the same thing.  I’d find those seeds stuck to their shorts when I did the laundry. And like most kids, they spent their summers runnin’ through the sprinklers with their friends to stay cool. I can still hear their laughter as they ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. The only way I could get ‘em to slow down was by carrying out a plate piled high with fresh watermelon.

Yes, summer and watermelon go together like biscuits and gravy; you can’t have one without the other. But it’s not just for kids. And you can do so much more than just slice it up. Over the years I’ve come up with a bunch of delicious recipes that seem downright sophisticated, like my Watermelon Salad with Mint Leaves. It brings the two best summertime fruits together in a way that’s sure to impress you (and your taste buds). And be sure to try these recipes out while the gettin’s good, because before you know it the days will start get shorter and the kids will come back inside, making watermelon just another mouthwatering summertime memory.

Paula’s Easy Watermelon Dessert
Watermelon Salad with Mint Leaves
Watermelon Cooler
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Chilled Grilled Corn and Watermelon Salad
Watermelon Punch

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Reader Comments:


Good Lord..this brings back memories..especilly runnin’ through the sprinkler with my brothers!!Oh, the fun we had….

Mary Ros of mobile, ala on July 26, 2010 09:45 AM

I love watermelon, it brings back times of being a kid. I still like it today.  Growing up watermelon was treat after a bbq.  Paulo you know how to bring happy memories to your fans when they aren’t having a good day.  Thank you & your boys for sharing your memory & resapiece.

Robin of Laconia,N.H. on July 26, 2010 09:45 AM

Loved this article!!!!  And loved the ideas for watermelon.  Maybe now I can get my son to eat some.  Thanks Paula!!!

Jess of Massena New York on July 26, 2010 09:47 AM

I just got back from vacation.  I took my momma to Savannah so she could eat at the Lady and Sons.  Of course it was delicious.  And believe it or not we bought watermelons in Savannah to have, and also when we got to Ohio where I’m originally from and momma still lives.

Of course my momma has watermelons growing in her garden, but we had at least 1 in the fridge at all times.

Like Paula said above, we also used to spend our summers running through sprinklers and eating watermelons.  I remember the eating them the most when we’d visit my mamaw in Kentucky.  Everyone sitting around talking and trying to keep cool in the shade, then Mamaw would bring out a bunch of melons to cut up and yes us kids and may I also say alot of the adults would spend some time seeing who could spit the watermelon seeds the farthest.

Its amazing how a simple melon, fruit, or meal can conjure up so many good memories.  I just hope that families these days aren’t missing out on building these memories.

If y’all want to see pics from our trip to Savannah and The Lady and Sons, they’re on my site.  BTW, if any of you get the chance, you have to go to Savannah its beautiful, and the food at The Lady and Sons was to die for….it was like eating at my grandmas table.  Thanks for making us feel welcome to all there.

Greg Kantner of Tampa Florida on July 26, 2010 09:48 AM

Here is a delicious recipe that I love to use during the summer watermelon season!

Watermelon Cooler
8 cups (1/2-inch) watermelon cubes
1 1/2 cups ginger ale
1/3 cup water
1 (6-oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate
1. Place watermelon cubes in a single layer in an extra-large zip-top plastic freezer bag, and freeze 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.

2. Process half each of watermelon, ginger ale, water, and limeade concentrate in a blender until smooth; pour mixture into a pitcher. Repeat procedure with remaining half of ingredients; stir into pitcher, and serve immediately.

You can also substitute cantelope or honey dew melon for the watermelon.

Hint - if you are in a hurry, you can use the melon in its freshest state and skip the freezing step. We made some both ways and they were delicious both ways…the frozen is just more like a slush.

Lisa Gist of United States of America on July 26, 2010 09:54 AM


SUE DAVIS of MILLEN ,GA on July 26, 2010 09:57 AM


DIxie Watson of NORTH BEND, WASHINGTON on July 26, 2010 10:09 AM

Paula..tried your watermelon and mint recipe and it was DELICIOUS! Thanks!  smile

cathy debellis of Poconos on July 26, 2010 10:37 AM

Love this picture of you! I have been a fan for many years, and when it gets too cold for any human ‘bean’, I go to my “southern living” and Paula Deen cookbooks! You always make me smile, help me feed my family in fun, delicious, and sometimes ‘naughty’ ways…And inspire me to move forward. (I have an icky divorce story)Recently, I told my daughters I wanted to dye my blonde hair “Paula” grey! They laughed, but I was serious!! You are a beautiful, rockin’,Southern girl, and I luv ya!!!

Coral Ann Champer of Minneapolis, (Blaine) Minnesota on July 26, 2010 10:49 AM

What a great article, Paula! Just another talent of yours, sweet lady,  telling stories. Also you look so beautiful in this picture.
Thanks for all you contribute to our world, Paula Deen!..You are definitely a ray of sunshine for so many people!
God Bless you!!
Shirley McCarley

shirley mccarley of fort smith, arkansas on July 26, 2010 10:54 AM

Great article !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CAROLINE HOKE of charlotte nc on July 26, 2010 10:56 AM

Talk about watermelon days/daze!
My hometown and still current address is the watermelon capital of Texas-Luling!
We have the Lakeside Thumpers lunch after our Watermelon Thump celebration parade. We feed over 80 folks catfish and all th’ trimmings.
The fish in th’ grease are caught in th’ Guadalupe running through Lake Gonzales that our lakehouse sits on three properties up from the dam.
Back to the fish-our dinner is caught, cleaned, and fried by our boys so all the compliments stay right on our cook deck!
We have a mini seed spitting, & eating contest like they have downtown and then th’ kids throw all the rinds over the fence toward the lake!
Relatives raise black diamonds and Charleston grays, a daughter-in-law has painted our propane tank and most everything that can’t get away into watermelon stripes!
I was princess of the festival back in th’ day and now a granddaughter and neices have reigned as queen, so our watermelon loving runs deep!
I have Thump ‘07-‘10 collages, so if you’ll want to see pix, just let us know!

Linda Bishop of Luling, TX on July 26, 2010 11:13 AM

Brings back memories!!

Susie of GoldenGate,Il. 62843 on July 26, 2010 11:26 AM

Just love Paula Deen, anyway, shape, or form.
You are the morning light in my day, and from what I hear from friends, to them also.

Jan Maus of Lima, OH on July 26, 2010 11:43 AM

Hello Mrs.Paula Deen
I just love you and your show so much.Thank you for shareing all your recipes.
I am from Southern Louisiana.Where we do a lot of canning and cooking.Have you ever tryed Old Fashioned Water Melon Preserve’s I have a recipe that my Mom gave me from my child hod days that is just awsome.I make the preserve’s every summer now and everyone that I give them to just love’s them.I would love to share this recipe with you one day If you would like to have it. Thank You so much for being you,You are such a joy to watch.
God Bless You.Sincerely Darlene Hebert, Lafayette,La.

Darlene Hebert of Lafayette,La. on July 26, 2010 12:19 PM

I remember the first time I served my toddler (now 21) melon balls.  He heard the word “Ball” and started throwing them around th room.  Great idea on my part to make food fun, but . . .

Peej2 of Home on July 26, 2010 12:20 PM

Paula just seeing your picture makes me think of good times when i was growing up in lynchburg va in the summer you are great

Diane S Flowers of crewe va 23930 on July 26, 2010 12:26 PM

I remember all the countless days it would take my mother to make the most delicious watermelon pickles. I did learn how to make them, but can’t seem to make em perfect like hers though. They went best with meats. If i remember right, i think i ate almost a whole jar one time. The thought of the cloves and cinnamon oils to this day makes me salivate. Have you tried them, Paula?

susan b. of mesa az on July 26, 2010 03:55 PM

Can’t wait til the NEW Paula Deen Buffet opens up at the Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth, In.  Plan on making several visits there.Maybe we’ll get to meet you personally…..Thanks for your recipe tips…...Jane

Jane Smith of Prospect, Ky. on July 26, 2010 06:52 PM

Wife and I were fixing zucchini bread while eating watermelon and cantaloupe and had all this left over Zucchini shredded, experimented and came up with several recipes for Zuchinni fritters which look more like potato cakes. Thanks for the child hood memories, we are still trying to get to Savannah so we can eat at the Lady and Sons.. Have a great and Blessed day

Larry Jones of Madison, Indiana on July 27, 2010 03:14 PM

On a first date almost 18 years ago, i had a watermelon seed spitting contest with this really, really cute guy. I won. I married him 2 years later. We’re still together!

Deanna Smith of San Jose, CA on July 27, 2010 07:02 PM

I grew up in Ft. Smith,Ark. As a child I remember neighbor Old Man ruth, gre veggies for local supermarket. He let my brothers and i come over and get the left overs. U can bet watermellon was high on the list.

Still my favorite, my hubby roy laughs cause I love salt on mine.

Love all your sharing Paula, u just have such a summertime glow about u.

Rosemarie Herdman of Southington,Ct. on July 27, 2010 11:32 PM

Paula I watch you program very often I admire you way if cooking,fun. Please tell me were did you buy
that pretty punch bowl .thank you so much.

maria on July 28, 2010 07:31 PM

Paula, thank you so much for your shows , its one thing I do enjoy and they are your shows. Always Mercedes Munoz

Mercedes Munoz of San Diego, CA 92021 on July 29, 2010 03:44 AM

    My name is Abby and I am from a small town in Missouri and I love your show I watch it every day. One thing I want most ion life it to be well you are my inspiration! I have been cooking ever since I was a little girl and it’s because of you. I want to open my own bakery shop and call it A Cups because I have five sisters and all of our names start with A. Paula i have all your cutting boards all of your pots and pans and i love you because you are so down to earth and passionate as am i to meet you would be my dream i would more than likely die! you are ht best and i love your food!

Abby H. of Missouri on July 30, 2010 06:24 PM

I grew up on the coast of North Carolina.  There is a place nearby that grows the most delicious watermelons that you ever sunk your teeth into.  Bogue Sound Watermelons.  I haven’t had one in a long time, but the memories of those delicious melons is fresh upon this 61 year old southern lady’s mind. 

My daddy grew watermelons too…They were pretty good, but there is just something special about those Bogue Sound ones.  If you ever get a chance head on up to Cedar Point, NC or Bogue Sound and get you one!  Yum! Yum!

Nancy Wigmore of Smithfield, NC 27577 on August 03, 2010 06:23 PM

Hi Deen Team,
I like your show very much especially when the three of you all are together.
Yes, Paula I also like your chickens in fact I’m a chicken nut.  When I bought my house that was one of the things I ask my real estate lady if I could have but of course I could’nt.
I like your banana delight cake.  I took it to a church supper and it went over very well.
Almost all your stuff is very good.  Thank youall for all the different cooking receipe you give us.
May God Bless youall.
A old time friend

Patricia of Park Hills, Missouri on August 06, 2010 02:29 PM


melaniedenson of eufaula al on August 08, 2010 09:29 PM

Hey Paula, I must first tell you what a beautiful lady you are. I love seeing pictures of your new home and watch your cooking show. You are an inspiration to me. I love to cook those good southern dishes in fact in the summertime also. You see Paula,I am a born southern gal, We love to ice down a watermelon overnight in a 48 gallon ice cooler and after cutting grass and doing yard work on a Saturday morning before it get to be 100 degrees,and when you are all hot and sweaty and wanting something cold then we pull out that ice cold watermelon and have a feast can’t decide which I love the best sitting on the porch watching those beautiful little ruby throated hummingbirds and Annas and smelling that fresh cut grass or sinking my teeth in that ice cold watermelon. Thanks Paula you surely are a Southern Lady. Hope to visit Lady and Sons Resturant soon. You are such a Blessing!

Kay Meeks of Adrian, Ga. on August 18, 2010 03:01 PM

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