Monday, June 1, 2015

MopDog Monday: Saint Lawrence did WHAT with a watermelon?!

Today, at the start of the (hopefully) warm summer days, the MopDog presents to you yet another mental image that cannot be unseen... or rather, in this case, untasted.

Watermelons are a popular summer snack in Hungary, and they are sold in large quantities both in shops and in roadside booths (boothes? boothsies?... whatever). In villages you can still sometimes see cars packed to the brim with watermelons, a microphone hooked up to the speakers, windows rolled down, and the seller yelling "WATERMELONS!!!" at full blast, usually during the afternoon siesta time, while driving down the street.

Buying watermelons is somewhat of an art form. I was taught to knock on them, and listen for a deep, echoing sound, to make sure the melon is ripe but not too watery. They also have to have a yellow "belly," and they have to be really, really large, with nice stripes on them. Before the EU it was also allowed to ask the seller to poke a hole in it for a taste, but obviously it was not in the seller's best interest.

Watermelons are grown on fields, and stealing them had probably been a popular pastime through the ages. There is a joke I have heard from multiple sources about the nameless farmer who wanted to keep thieves away by putting up a sign that said "ONE OF THESE WATERMELONS IS POISONED." He returned the very next day, and found the sign crossed out and a correction scribbled on: "TWO OF THESE WATERMELONS ARE POISONED."
Oops.

Okay okay, we are getting to St. Lawrence. This very popular saint in the Catholic canon has his feast day on August 10th. This, incidentally, is also around the time people have noticed watermelons start going watery (duh) and tasteless, and they are not as sweet and fresh as they are earlier in the summer. Hence the folk wisdom was born:

"St. Lawrence pees in the watermelons."

Bon appétit. 

4 comments:

  1. I was amazed when I saw watermelons stacked high to the rafters in GUM department store in Moscow. Our guide told us that Russians LOVE watermelon.

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  2. HAHAHA! That is an interesting conclusion to come to. I was imagining worse things too, so I'm still good with my watermelon.

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  3. Yeah, I too was picturing way worse. You've kinda set the bar REALLY low with your historical figures...

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    1. I feel like this quote should be in a Hungarian history book somewhere... XD

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