July 9th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picSix months ago, as has become my annual tradition, I made a New Year’s resolution to tackle something on my watermelon bucket list. This year’s goal: to compete in a watermelon-eating contest. The 26-week process of completing this resolution has been fun, to say the least – from choosing a contest to compete in, to interviewing a professional competitive eater, to practicing at home in preparation for the big day.

The watermelon-eating contest I took part in was an annual tradition at the Bel Air 4th of July Festival in Bel Air, Maryland (about 90 minutes from where I live).

We arrived at the festival (my wife, daughter and I) about an hour before the 11:30 a.m. eating contest, just in time to catch the end of “The Great Bel Air Frog Jumping Contest” in Shamrock Park. True to its name, it featured frogs jumping, and it was probably the highlight of the day for our three-year-old. (The contest winner was a frog named Honey Boo Boo Child with a three-jump total of 102 inches!)

But I wasn’t there for the frog jumping contest in Shamrock Park; I was there for the watermelon-eating contest in Shamrock Park. After adding my name to the list of participants in the 17-and-older category, we took a stroll around the crowded and festive park to kill some time before my competitive eating showdown began.


Alright, I’m not going to bore you with a recap of my stroll around Shamrock Park – let’s get right to the contest. Each competitor was given a nice-sized wedge of watermelon with simple instructions that the first person to finish (eat it down to the white rind and have an empty mouth) would be declared the winner. (Above is a photo of the 7-10 year old competitors proudly displaying their watermelon wedges before the contest.)

After a countdown from 10 – which seemed like it took three full minutes – the eating had begun. About 17-and-older contestants were clustered together and the 20 of us created quite the symphony of chomping and slurping sounds. And almost as quickly as it had begun, the contest was over.

A gentleman from Forest Hill, Maryland was declared the winner, and boy did he ever do a good job of eating that wedge right down to the rind. I’m not 100 percent sure where I finished – probably fourth or fifth – which isn’t too bad. I’m happy with that performance. I had a lot of fun preparing for the contest and you can be sure that I’ll be back again next year to take another shot at the watermelon-eating title!

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June 7th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picI’ve eaten approximately 47,000 watermelons in my 37 years, which makes me sort of an expert on eating watermelon. Don’t bother doing the math; just trust me that it’s true. Having eaten so many watermelons, I’ll be the first to admit that, occasionally, you get one that seems to be missing a little something. And by “something,” I mean flavor. There, I said it. It’s nobody’s fault—it just happens.

If it happens to you, the important thing to remember is not to panic. You can always take the watermelon back to the store and, in most cases, they’ll be happy to exchange it for another watermelon. If you don’t feel like taking it back to the store, the trick below, courtesy of, can be used to bring any watermelon back to life.

NOTE: Although this trick can turn a below average watermelon into a good watermelon, it can also be used to turn a good watermelon into an amazing watermelon. That’s assuming, of course, that your tastebuds can handle so much awesomeness.

I took a tip from the practice of salting watermelon, which concentrates the juice and makes the sweetness more pronounced. Sugar has a similar effect, so I put out a couple tablespoons of sugar, along with the zest of a lemon and a couple handfuls of fresh mint leaves.

I cut up about half of a small watermelon in thick slices, and layered the watermelon slices on a plate. As I layered the wedges, I very lightly sprinkled the slices with sugar. Then I rubbed some zest over the layer and sprinkled with chiffonaded mint. I did this to each layer of the watermelon slices, finishing off the dish with a full sprig of mint.

There you have it, folks. A little sugar, a little lemon and a little mint. This trick works because watermelon has an incredible ability to absorb different flavors. That’s also why we often see watermelon used to complement other dishes.

Before you dive into this trick, you might want to try just one of the ingredients (mint, sugar or lemon) to see if one is all it takes. If it works, let me know with a comment. I’ll try it, too, and let you know the results.

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