Carving a Place in Your Summer Luau Party

Got a summer luau party coming up? I always think about carving watermelons and other fruits to make a nice edible centerpiece for a summer luau party. There is nothing so pretty as a watermelon cornucopia of sliced fruits to make a nice statement on the summer luau party table. The colors are so lovely, and the bountiful fruit is large enough for a crowd.

Pumpkins are about the only food most of us carve. Watermelons aren’t hard to carve, but you have to plan ahead to slice out the red heart in big chunks or to use a melon baler to make a nice presentation. Unless I’m using a seedless watermelon, I like to leave the seeds intact; the contrast of black seeds and the red watermelon flesh is so appealing on the summer luau party table.

I love to visit the fancy buffets onboard cruise ships to gain ideas for fruit and vegetable carvings. (The ice carvings are beyond my skill and patience plus the desire to keep my hands warm).  I’ve seen intricate masterpieces and very simple treatments of carved fruits and vegetables, and many cruise lines offer food carving demonstrations during days at sea.

The art of food carving is an ancient Asian tradition and also falls into the time honored classic food preparation methods of Garde Manger, a French term loosely translated as “keeper or guardian of the food.” (Apparently in 16th century France any extra food wealth had to be closely guarded.)  today, most eye witnesses say the best food carving imaginations are from Thai chefs who make intricate and elaborate carvings of just about any carvable food ingredient.

However, for the summer luau party coming up, the simple watermelon basket is a good old standby. It is easy to carve because it takes only a few cuts to be on your way to food carving success.  Special tools are typically used, but you can use a paring knife for most of the detail work.

How To Carve A Watermelon
First, decide where you want the basket “handle,” and use the paring knife to lightly etch a line in the watermelon skin. (FYI, a horizontal basket is the easiest to use for a serving dish on the summer luau party table.)  Cut around the line in a zigzag fashion and pull out the watermelon pieces and set aside.

Repeat this motion for the other half of the watermelon until all the watermelon flesh is removed. At this point you can clean out the basket shell and spoon in all the luscious fruit you’ve cut up to serve as a fruit salad.  Other melons, pineapple, oranges, bananas or grapes are excellent additions for exciting texture and color contrast.  Trim up the zigzag edges a bit, and add a lovely Hibiscus flower to the handle for a tropical summer luau party vibe.

Oh, by the way, you will need a very sharp paring knife to make your summer luau party watermelon carving easy and a big success. Be sure to take photos to include in the family cookbook!

Happy Cookbooking & Aloha!

Erin

About Erin Miller

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