Do you shy away from watermelon because of the pits? I did. But not anymore.
Travel to Japan yielded one of the best utensils I’ve ever used—the melon spoon. Here’s what it looks like—can you believe someone came up with this idea?
Note the three prongs at the top of the spoon. You stick them under the pit to lift it up and out of the melon. The spaces in between the prongs somehow work to get the pit out without removing the meat of the melon. At our house, we use these spoons each time we serve watermelon. Guests love them, and they’re a topic of conversation since most people have never seen these spoons. And, by the way, I’ve discovered the spoons are great at breakfast, especially for piercing the white of a soft-boiled egg poised in an egg cup.
These useful spoons illustrate the idea of this blog: keeping travel alive back at home. Each time I use them, I remember how we found them on a family trip to Japan.
A few years ago, my husband, daughter, and I stayed at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) in a small city called Sakata on the Sea of Japan. (We decided not to stay at a ryokan in Kyoto, like many tourists do, because of the outrageous expense.) As is often done in the ryokan, we were served dinner in our room—a meal of THIRTEEN courses. The dinner included a delicious slice of watermelon accompanied by a melon spoon.
The three of us were fascinated at how easy it was to remove the pits. No more biting in and spitting pits on the plate. Well, to be honest, I never did that—my personal melon-eating routine consisted of frantic, spastic digs of my teaspoon underneath the pits. This furrowed out much of the fruit, too, sort of like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
But that evening in the ryokan, liberated of the need to deal with pits, I relished my watermelon. I had to have that spoon!
Figuring the spoons would be common in Japan, the very next day my family and I went on expedition to the local department store. As it turned out, melon spoons were easy to find, and they weren’t even expensive. That was several years ago; we’ve been enjoying those stunning utensils ever since.
Moral of the story? Not just that melon spoons are good (if you can find them.) More to the point, when you’re somewhere new and you notice a little detail of local daily life, consider whether you could incorporate the item/food/custom into your home-based life. If they can do it, why not you?
So, how do you? Go to a store where locals shop, and bring the item home? Get the recipe? Find out more about the custom and maybe adopt it yourself? Or adapt the custom so it fits your own routine? These are some ideas. You’ll probably come up with better.
Using melon spoons is another example of extending the joy of travel so it lasts and lasts and lasts.
P.S. I’ve searched the web in English, and can’t find melon spoons anywhere—maybe if I searched in Japanese? If anyone reading this is able to find them, please let me know.