My granddaddy used to say watermelon wasn’t good until the Fourth of July. In his day, most foods were locally sourced and didn’t fully ripen until midsummer. Now we can get fruit from California, Texas and Mexico in just days because of our rail and highway systems, which weren’t in place when he was a young man.
As a child, I eagerly looked forward to the Fourth of July cookout in our back yard, not only for the neighborhood gathering to burn assorted flesh on the grill, but for the variety of foods brought from my friends’ kitchens up and down the city block. Fresh vegetables from our garden, cookies and sheet cakes from the good bakers, and picnic sides from the better cooks in our circle of friends. This circle included all the parents and children.
Daddy always kept a spray bottle of water for the fat flares from the hot dogs and hamburgers. Blue smoke often rose from the coals. Cooking with Dad was an esoteric art: balancing fire and water so one didn’t overwhelm the other. Since he was the high priest of the grill, we who served as his apprentices held the bottle until it was needed.
After years of watching and learning, the day came when he said, “Spray a shot on that flare there.” From then on, we were to watch and spray, for we were now anointed priests of the grill. When you are invested in your food, you care about it. Preparing, cooking, and serving the food is no longer a chore or a routine task, but a calling and a ministry for the people you love.
Attitude is everything, folks say, and attitude will change your behavior. How you behave will determine your consequences.
After a good meal with family and friends, the joy of watermelon is our reward. Just as my Daddy wielded the long barbecue tools, so also he took the large knife in hand. I always held my breath, waiting for the splitting crack snap of the dark green rind to reveal the sweet, red, dripping, juicy center. We children would have leaped from our seats to grab a piece of this cold treat, but we were stayed by the slicing of his knife.
We always got one slice each, not only at a party, but also even when we asked for more on other occasions. One cup or 8 ounces, is a serving. That’s 70 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates. This is portion control. Portion control takes discipline, which is a behavior. To change behavior, attitudes need to change.
Understand, in Cornie’s Kitchen, I regularly do all things my Daddy used to do. Back in my childhood, family roles were very distinct. Men did the works of power if they were around. If they were unavailable, our mothers could whack the watermelons into submission as easily as they could.
This is a positive attitude: I have the power to slice the watermelon. This is a negative attitude: others are strong and they can slice the watermelon.
Which attitude will move you toward your goals better?