In addition to being the enduring objects of unconditional affection, kids have many other important functions in our lives. Top among them is keeping our egos in check. If ever we get too big for our britches, they can take us right down to earth with a look, a comment, or a generous rolling of the eyes.
Take for instance this pretty watermelon salad. When I set it on the dinner table, my daughter Rosie grabbed a slice off the serving plate and started chomping down to the rind as if we were on the sidelines of a soccer game.
"No, no, no," I said. "It's a salad. You eat it with a fork."
"A salad? she said. "This isn't a salad. It's just a piece of watermelon with some nuts and cheese thrown on top."
I had to laugh. She was right, although I still insisted on a fork.
Despite misperceptions of this dish in my house, it was a big hit. The sweet, refreshing melon is excellent with the saltiness of the feta, the crunch of the almonds, and the fragrancy of the fresh mint. It may seem like a strange pairing until you taste it and then (hopefully) it makes sense.
Whatever you want to call this and however you choose it eat it, melon season is upon us and this is a supremely easy way to enjoy it as a side dish for picnics, barbecues, and all manner of warm weather festivities.
Just don't tell your kids it's salad.
WATERMELON WEDGE SALAD WITH FETA, ALMONDS & MINT
The instructions in this recipe are for a small to medium watermelon. If you are using a large watermelon, increase the ingredients by 50 percent and cut the melon into 6 wedges instead of 4.
One 1 1/4-inch-thick slab from the center of a small to medium seedless watermelon
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (toasted if you have the time or inclination)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch salt (fleur de sel such as Maldon if you have it)
Cut the watermelon slab into quarters and set on a plate. Sprinkle the almonds, feta, and mint over the top. Drizzle the olive oil over the melon and finish with a pinch of salt.
Best served soon after it's made.
Makes 4 servings.