Here’s a recipe to chill out for summer – fix yourself some watermelon ice, or maybe some chilled vodka watermelon soup (recipe follows), and sit back with a light, relaxing read. Preferably about watermelon.
Did you know that the first wines of the Levant were made not with grapes, but with watermelon? That’s right, the Egyptian pharaohs highly prized this ancient fruit, storing it in special earthen jars, as Haaretz’s legendary wine columnist Daniel Rogov wrote. There were fine vintages and not-so-good wines, such as the ones doled out to slaves.
Many, many years later, watermelon still plays a pivotal role in the region (well, relatively speaking). Many an Israeli artist has been inspired by the striking fruit. In fact, it’s such a common motif that an entire exhibition was devoted to it at the Rubin Museum in Tel Aviv back in 2009.
Since this is the Middle East, after all, watermelon has also played a role in the conflict. In this case, at least, it’s serving as sticky pink glue along the seam line, helping create bonds between Jews and Arabs on the border between East and West Jerusalem.
Vodka Watermelon Soup Recipe
2 liters water
300 grams sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 watermelon (3 kilograms without the rind)
chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup lemon juice
tart sorbet for serving
Boil the water, and stir in the sugar and the cinnamon stick. Let cool.
Cut the watermelon into cubes, and blend in a food processor. Add the mint and blend again. Add the vodka, lemon juice and sugar water. Serve cold, with a scoop of sorbet in the center.