I love those moments when you can take something ordinary and turn it into something special. I think of these gestures as “little touches”—those moments when you do something extra that makes people smile. Sometimes I know the “little touches” I want to add; other times, it’s only when I’m in the midst of doing something that an idea comes to me.
Such was the case recently when I was putting together party snacks for my daughter’s 12th birthday. As I was cutting the watermelon, I was trying to decide if I should serve it in wedges, cut it into cubes or maybe even scoop it into melon balls.
Then it hit me: I could do something festive with the watermelon, because it was, after all, a birthday party. I’d previously cut fruit into stars and flowers. Why not make the watermelon memorable by cutting it into numbers?
I cut the watermelon into 1″ slices and laid each slice flat on a cutting board. Using a cookie cutter, I pressed out the individual shapes of “1” and “2”. Ooh! They were so handsome! I continued cutting shapes until I had enough for each party guest to have a “12” on their plate.
Since the birthday party guests were all 11- and 12-year old girls, I added some marshmallows to each watermelon number and attached them using a small bamboo skewer (the kind you might serve with appetizers). I happened to have flower-shaped marshmallows on hand so I used those. (Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there has been an explosion of shapes, flavors and sizes of marshmallows in the past few years!)
Would the watermelon have tasted just as good had I just cut it into cubes? Absolutely. But seeing the girls smile when they saw the festive watermelon 12’s made it all worthwhile because little touches go a long way.
- Mark a birthday, an anniversary or a graduation year with cut out numbers
- Spell out a name using letter cookie cutters
- Write a phrase such as “I love you” or “Good luck”
- Cut out geometric shapes for younger children to enjoy
Tips on Making Fruit More Festive
- The softer the fruit, the easier it is to cut using a cookie cutter
- Metal cookie cutters have sharper edges and cut fruit more easily than plastic cookie cutters.
- For the best presentation, use fruit slices of similar thickness. Otherwise, you will have “tall” and “short” shapes.
- Fruits that contain a lot of water work best when laying flat. Fruits that are less “juicy” such as cantaloupe can be put on a toothpick or skewer and elevated
- If you want to embellish your fruit shapes, you can do so with other fruit such as grapes or blueberries, or with any other soft candies, such as gumdrops.
- Check to be sure that your skewers or toothpicks don’t have any “splinters.”
- No cookie cutters on hand? No problem! You can cut out shapes free-hand using a paring knife. If you want a bit of assistance, make a template out of waxed paper, foil or anything else that can stand up to juicy fruit
- Save time by cutting out a single shape or two and placing on top of a fruit salad.