Melons hold so much promise. Their thick outer shell—be it green and striped, or tan and crackly like the desert floor—hides a sweet, tantalizing mystery. They bulb up on the ends of vines like basketballs swollen by the press of a foot pump.
During the summer, I can imagine no better dessert than a melon. Watermelon on the beach, honeydews in my backyard, cantaloupes sliced at a barbecue and eaten with orange smiles. Cutting into a melon is like a drumroll: You slice with anticipation, suspense. How will it look? How will it taste? A smell test, a knock on the skin, a push of the thumb into the exterior can tell you only so much about a melon’s quality. The moment of truth comes after the whole thing’s been sliced and separated.