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  • Melissa Orquiza

Marinated Watermelon Salad, What Makes Something Funny, Cartoons, Flight of the Conchords & Liszt

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Marinated Watermelon Salad. Yes, a salad can be sexy!

I loved our honeymoon in Maui. A welcome end to the endless maze of frustration, chaos, and beauty that was our wedding, our honeymoon was an embracing finale. We had a small wedding in a chapel, but it still turned into a production. Upon checking into our inn, the attendant showed us our room, the porch, and the lagoon like outdoor shower (that was inconveniently close to a construction site.) It was the embodiment of paradise- shower outside while hearing the crashing waves, while besotted by lush vegetation and tropical beauty.

Exhausted, I set out to make the room our own and my husband decide to try out the outdoor shower. Just five minutes in, he runs in laughing. Apparently, while showering, he heard some construction workers say, “Hey! Someone’s taking a shower……EW! It’s a DUDE!” To this day, I still laugh about it. (Like most people, I hold onto funny things in order to daydream through the excruciating parts of life.) It did make me wonder, “Why is this funny?” Is it the mice, heroin, sugar thing? Is it the intermittent end reward theory, like the beginning compulsions of gambling?

Refreshingly besotted. I'm languishing in its beauty.

My toddler daughter (un)fortunately, has inherited my propensity to make people laugh and has learned that when I’m angry at her, if she makes funny noises, it makes both her parents laugh. When she changes lyrics or mashes songs together, the words change its meaning, and thus, can illicit new reactions. She’s learned that not knowing the lyrics and making something up is hilarious. She realizes that mastering the art of context can subtly change whether something is serious or downright side splitting. Like most parents, we do have to temper her in case it’s completely inappropriate. So, what makes something funny?

Here’s a link to an introductory, broad spectrum analysis. Apparently, it comes down to feelings of superiority, the fact that no one died, it’s unexpected, and it’s bad but harmless.

Here’s a more in-depth explanation by psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers. In addition to the reasons above, another explanation is the expression of otherwise forbidden emotions and how humor stayed as an evolutionary mechanism to foster interconnectedness.

Perfect excuse to do basically nothing in the kitchen.

Since I (un)fortunately, developed the funny mechanism to deflect the social awkwardness that was being a human, there has been conflicting research as to whether men find funny women attractive or whether they just want a girl to laugh at their jokes. (Google it. It’s pretty fascinating.) I usually can find humor in anything so was I that girl that laughed at their jokes or the philosophical absurdity of humor in courtship? Who knows? At least we were all laughing!

Here’s a link to how self directing emotions into humor is a slayer for the development of young women.

As a young girl, my family and friends saw Victor Borge perform LIVE. It was LIFE CHANGING. Not only was a world class pianist mastering his performance with his technique and phrasing, he was FUNNY. I thought only tortured, serious, musicians could possess those classical performance abilities. As a crossover act, he paved the way for many of the classical musicians now that double as pop acts. Here he is, in his younger days, playing Liszt.

Victor Borge, The Liszt Duet

It's been years and I still find this funny. Maybe it's the guitar, bass keys, and bass clarinet?

Flight of the Conchords- Rambling through the Avenues of Time

From Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, the Animaniacs, and more, here’s the Liszt, “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” as background comedy music. We were all fed a steady diet of classical music with these vintage animations. Thank you, Disney and Warner Bros!

A Tribute to “Number Two.”

Here’s Lang Lang, just having fun. You can see the glee and his “devil may care attitude” on his face while playing. You can’t help but smile with his infectious humor.

Lang Lang, Bocelli, Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 in C sharp minor - Live From Teatro Del Silenzio, Italy / 2007

Thanks for reading! I hope this makes your laugh and maybe even a bit more adventurous!

Xo, Melissa

I love salads but they can get a bit boring. Our palates are so refined now, that if I can find a version at Trader Joe’s or a drive- through, I’d prefer to level it up. I love the marinated watermelon because it’s unbridled, raw, and uncouth. The watermelon was perfectly hydrating after a gnocchi hangover.

Marinated Watermelon Salad

My adaptation of a marinated watermelon salad, found in Food and Wine. (Here’s the original link.

adapted from Food and Wine, from Chef Joe Kindred of Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina

The marinated watermelon keeps for a few days. Perfect when you want to make something quickly.

The basil’s peppery sweetness pops with the watermelon and the salad’s components make most of summer produce. The marinade tempers the sweetness of the watermelon and the ginger, sherry vinegar mixture is perfectly balanced- you don’t taste either element. I substituted aleppo pepper, (instead of sumac,) Italian flat leaf parsley, (instead of tarragon,) sherry vinegar, (instead of champagne vinegar,) and white peppercorns, (instead of pink.) I whisked the marinade in a bowl before adding to the watermelon.


2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (instead of Champagne)

1 small shallot, minced

One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + whatever to drizzle

Kosher salt

One 5-pound seedless watermelon, peeled and cut roughly

1 tablespoon white peppercorns (instead of pink)

1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

roughly 1/2 teaspoon aleppo pepper (instead of sumac)

1 pound feta cheese, preferably Greek

1/3 cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn

1/3 cup lightly packed mint leaves, torn

1/3 cup lightly packed italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (instead of tarragon)

Flaky sea salt

handfuls of spinach

handfuls of spring mix


1. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar with the shallot, ginger and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the marinade with kosher salt. Place the watermelon in a large resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the white and black peppercorns over moderately high heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, let cool, then grind to a powder. Transfer to a small bowl and mix with the aleppo pepper.

3. Add the handfuls of spinach and spring mix. Crumble feta. Using a slotted spoon, remove the watermelon from the marinade and arrange on the feta. Drizzle with some of the marinade and generously sprinkle with the spices. (I was not very liberal with the pepper mixture.) Garnish with the herbs and sea salt; serve.

Easy, peasy! Hope this flavorful salad makes your day! Thanks for reading! Melissa

#marinatedwatermelonsalad, #whatmakessomethingfunny, #cartoons, @victorborge, @langlang, @lizst, @flightoftheconchords

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