Cold Comfort

This post first appeared in Regrow Qld in July 2022

Folks, last week I ate a heaped bowl of watermelon and fresh cream. 

It tasted like Summer!

But, like snow in November, attending a funeral dressed as a clown or tongue kissing your grandma, there’s something very wrong about eating watermelon in mid-winter.

Normally I try to avoid eating fruit out of season, but some very crafty supermarket stackers had set up a seductive display of plastic wrapped, juicy slices of watermelon right at the front entrance of the store. 

Before I knew what I was doing, I’d placed one into my basket and was making a beeline for the fresh cream fridge. 

Arriving home, I suddenly remembered all the items I’d gone to buy before I’d started drooling.  Chiefly, soup, bread, hot chocolate, pumpkin and some spuds.  Good, solid, dependable winter vittles.

Food that would have been much more appropriate for the weather which, on that particular day, was several degrees below brass monkeys.

It was so cold that Jack Frost had pulled the quilt over his head and gone back to sleep.  So, nobody was particularly surprised when news broke that our village had just experienced its’ coldest day on record.

“N-n-n-o-o k-k-kidd-ing!” I muttered through chattering teeth as I sliced watermelon into cubes and plunked them into a bowl.

Pouring a small ocean of cream over the top, I stared at the bowl through the mist coming off my breath and wondered if I was going insane!

Who in their right mind eats watermelon at this time of year? 

Well, obviously apart from me…

Watermelon is traditionally best enjoyed  in hot weather, seated on the grass, by a pool, beach, creek or river and spitting the seeds into your little brothers’ can of lemonade. 

Happily, I’ve grown out of that phase now.  Possibly because my brother lives several hundred kilometres away and refuses to come on summer picnics with me anymore.

Anyway, clearly someone has decided that each year, a section of the summer watermelon crop must be set aside, stored for months in freezers before being trucked all over the country during the middle of winter.

Seriously, how much electricity and fuel is being consumed annually to do this? 

A question which is particularly relevant right now as electricity suppliers are asking us to go without  heating to prevent blackouts.  It’s literally cold (dis)comfort to know we’re wrapping ourselves in blankets to stay warm each evening in order to keep the power supplied for stocks of summer fruits destined for supermarket shelves.

My friend laughed when I told her about my recent mid-winter feast.  Because she sources her fruit and veg from local suppliers, the goods she buys aren’t wrapped in plastic, or waxed to mirror shininess, have spots, are odd shaped and dirt has to be washed off them before eating or cooking.

Currently she, and her family, are merrily munching on stuff like apples, strawberries, zucchini’s, mushrooms, beetroot, parsley, carrots and spuds. 

Good, nutritious, winter crops.

She isn’t being exposed to tempting displays of out of season fruit and, as a result, NOT eating ice-cold chunks of watermelon while plumped, shivering, in front of an unplugged heater.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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