Melon head

August 17, 2007

The pick-up: Cantaloupe — or, to be exact, three just-picked Dixon melons grown near Dixon, Montana. Huckleberries. And Rainier cherries.

The results: One thing to love about August is that everything tastes so good just as it is. You don’t have to get fancy in the kitchen if you’d rather just sit in the shade and spit pips, which is exactly what we did with three pounds of Rainier cherries from Flathead Lake last week. They were plainly perfect.

A good way to eat huckleberries.

Fortunately for us, not all summer days are dog days for my mom, who baked us a huckleberry pie just for fun. Like all diehard foragers, she won’t tell you exactly where she and my dad picked four gallons of these quintessential Montana berries. Sure, she’ll tell you it was along a logging road off Highway 12, somewhere between Lolo Hot Springs and the Lochsa Lodge, but then you’re on your own. Sorry.

As for the melons, they were firm, sweet, and tasty all by themselves — no need to blend them in a smoothie or a soup, or toss them in a salad, or wrap slices in prosciutto, or sprinkle pepper over them. (All of which, of course, are perfectly delicious ideas — for September.)

And if you’re not a melon head like me — if you wrinkle your nose at the mere mention of cantaloupe and claim it tastes, for example, like sweaty armpit hair (as Carrie Floyd, who writes the Kitchen Limbo column, has so unappetizingly suggested) — well, I’ll eat your portion. And then some.

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