Let’s talk about two things: Bath & Body Works, and naptime.I spent a large chunk of my middle school years worshiping at the body spray shrine, as did many of you, I imagine (I hope? please tell me I wasn’t alone!). The average middle school girl owned a horrendous cornucopia of scents, and our zealous over-application had the effect of making us collectively smell like a rotting produce stand. Country Apple, Sun-Ripened Raspberry, Cocoa Cabana, Sweet Pea – and the zenith of scents: Cucumber Melon. We went through life in a haze of strange odors and rolling glitter sticks that could be applied to any part of the body to enhance it.Yet if these smells were cloying and oppressive, the impulse was right, because what is more sublime then the combination of crisp and cool cucumbers, and juicy sweet melons? Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew- it doesn’t matter. The two produce families belong together and the packaged scent that we anointed over our middle school years does not adequately express the glorious combination of these two ingredients.My life is currently a series of naptimes, during which I either snuggle my babe and binge watch TV or try to do something productive. Almost every day Henry takes one stroller nap, where I wander Capitol Hill and let him enjoy the balmy 100% humidity. These are some of my favorite naps, as they feel both fun and productive. I usually have a goal in mind, some tiny treat that serves as the climax of our wanders. It might be a cookie from Union Kitchen Grocery (best chocolate chip cookie ever) or a Lavender Lemonade from Ebenezers (LAVENDER IN ALL THE THINGS PLEASE!). But most often it is a watermelon cooler from Le Pain Quotidien. Sweet, juicy watermelon with a perfect hint of cucumber to give it a crisp edge.This is the very taste of summer, stripped of any ingredients that might weigh us down or make us feel any more lethargic than the heat already has us feeling. And they are so easy to make, with just a couple ingredients, a flexible recipe, and they are Paleo! Whole30! Gluten Free! DUH. Because it is fruit and water. Sometimes I see labels on things like that and I think that our real problem isn’t gluten, it’s the fact that we are so far from real food that we have to tell people that things like fruit, vegetables, and meat are gluten free.If you want to drink summer, you should make these. If you want a guilt-free drink to replace sugary lemonade or cocktails, you should make these. (Though for the record, they would probably be tasty with a little dash of something bubbly too!) If you sliced up a watermelon for July 4th and the remnants are getting mushy in your fridge, you should make these. And most importantly, if it’s naptime, and you are sitting contentedly in the AC, binge watching Gilmore Girls and congratulating yourself on a sleeping baby who might just wake up any second but not before you think back on your youth and your body spray and how did we get here? and how am I adult enough to have a baby? and you miss those carefree summer days of watermelon running down your chin even though you love these days with all their cares — you should make these.
- 4 cups cubed watermelon – very ripe
- 3 cups water (or to taste)
- juice of one lemon
- cucumbers, sliced thin
- Using an immersion blender or standard blender, blend the watermelon, water, and lemon juice.
- Put it in a pitcher and add mint leaves and some sliced cucumbers. Chill for several hours.
- Remove mint and cucumber (they will have gotten soggy in the process of giving up their essence to the drink) and serve with fresh mint and a cucumber slice.
- You can also muddle or blend mint into the drink, but some people don’t like actual chunks of mint in their drink.