Happy-Hour Cantaloupe

File this under “little things that mean a lot:” A photographer friend invited us over for a drink on his coop’s rooftop before dinner out in Harlem the other Sunday. And after showing us some of his work, he led us to the elevator with two shopping bags in hand. One turned out to hold wine and glasses, the other a choice of snacks: Portuguese cheese from a market in the Ironbound section of Newark, or cantaloupe. With that crisp Bordeaux in the setting sun, the melon seemed more fitting. Especially once he popped the lid on the container. The cantaloupe had been peeled and cut into bite-size chunks, which is obvious, but also packed with ice cubes to keep it both cold and wet, the way a fruit that’s mostly water should be kept. He’d also added some lemon wedges, but the melon didn’t even need it. There couldn’t be a better nibble on a hot summer night before a rich meal. One of the few downsides to eating for a living is the tendency to overdo. If I were serving cantaloupe with drinks, I’d make myself crazy finding the perfect one and then wrapping slices in prosciutto, or at least melon-balling it and tossing it with mint. Turns out just keeping it cold and wet matters more.

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