The Watermeltin’ Days of Summer

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
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

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

Read More From Memorial/Labor Day.

Read More From Fourth of July.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

  • Apple Baked Bean Casserole Apple Baked Bean Casserole
    View Now
  • Iron Skillet Brownies Iron Skillet Brownies
    View Now
  • Bobby’s Lighter Iced Double-Chocolate Mocha Frappe Bobby’s Lighter Iced Double-Chocolate Mocha Frappe
    View Now
  • The Deen Bros. Lighter Butter Pecan Ice Cream The Deen Bros. Lighter Butter Pecan Ice Cream
    View Now

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

ICE BABES is an Importer, Manufacturer and Wholesaler of top quality ladies clothing based in the East End of London. Our aim is to bring you value and quality with fast delivery, backed up with a reliable, knowledgeable & friendly service.

By Clothing manufacturers on November 24, 2011

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!

By Kay Meeks on August 18, 2010


By melaniedenson on August 08, 2010

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

By Patricia on August 06, 2010

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!

By Nancy Wigmore on August 03, 2010

    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!

By Abby H. on July 30, 2010

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

By Mercedes Munoz on July 29, 2010

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.

By maria on July 28, 2010

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.

By Rosemarie Herdman on July 27, 2010

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!

By Deanna Smith on July 27, 2010

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

By Larry Jones on July 27, 2010

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

By Jane Smith on July 26, 2010

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?

By susan b. on July 26, 2010

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

By Diane S Flowers on July 26, 2010

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 . . .

By Peej2 on July 26, 2010

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.

By Darlene Hebert on July 26, 2010

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.

By Jan Maus on July 26, 2010

Brings back memories!!

By Susie on July 26, 2010

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!

By Linda Bishop on July 26, 2010

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

By CAROLINE HOKE on July 26, 2010

Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts


Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm