Friday, 5 July 2013

"Here's My Little Teapot, Short & Stout.."

Ahhh...back to blogging.  I hope that I can be more organized next school year so I can make this a more regular practice.  I really do miss the Island but, as mentioned previously, I just can't blog with guilt when not keeping up to school paperwork!  Anyway, back to business!

Support Staff Lunch

Each year at our school, the support staff makes a lunch for the teachers during one of our Parent-Teacher-Interview nights, and then the teachers reciprocate in kind in the spring.  I was approached by our VP, Jody, asking if I would make a watermelon creation for the event.  Off I went to Pinterest and the National Watermelon Promotion Board for a recheck of ideas, having discovered the watermelon shark from last year on those sites.  I needed something connected to our picnic theme and also wanted something feminine as all of the support staff are ladies. 

The fruit art I selected was this lovely teapot.

Prior to the picnic, I figured I should do a trial run.  Coincidentally, our church was hosting the service the next Sunday so if it turned out, I vowed to share Version 1 with the congregation.  I really liked the look of the watermelon balls and blueberries so decided to fill it with the same fruit in the photo, too.

I found a photo and instructions online that showed how to cut and assemble the teapot.  Fortunately, lately in Bonnyville at the store I shop at most, all the watermelons sold are pretty round.  I picked through the big cardboard bin quite thoroughly, checking them out for even stripes, smooth skin, heaviness-per-size (indicating a nice juicy one, I've read) and the least brown creases, nearly falling in once in my enthusiastic search to find a perfect melon! 

The first one turned out okay; the steps listing where and how far to cut weren't perfect so it turned out a big wonky.  Cutting 4" down the watermelon versus cutting 4" from the stem (or belly button, as I think of it) are two different things.  Grrr... 

Oh well - this was TP #1: empty at home, then fruity-filled at church:

My fellow parishioners thought the l'il teapot was cute so I decided to stick with it and make the same for the school lunch.  On the second attempt, I took pictures, just in case this inspired one of you readers to make one!

Slice off one end, the center of which will be used in constructing your lid.  On TP #2, I  used a round cookie cutter with a crinkled edge, thinking that this would add a pretty touch to the knob.  (More on the terminology later.)  The outer ring will be used as a base to keep your teapot sitting pretty and sturdily.

Back to the main part of the watermelon.  This was/is the trickiest part, for me, at least: knowing where to make the cut so the teapot's belly is tall enough but also creating a good-sized lid.  The original site said 4" but I'd say eyeball about halfway up from the base and cut there.  You can always pare down the teapot part but the lid can't be put back together again.  This is not Humpty Dumpty!  A slice must then be cut from the lid part so you will be able to continue the song with, "Here is my handle, here is my spout!"

Cut a rectangular spot for the teapot lid knob.  (I may...or may not...have Googled "anatomy of a teapot" and found a nice little P.W.I.M. picture-style poster of one so I use the right words such as belly, knob vs. handle, etc. ;-) ) It took me a few times to get it the right size, "measuring" it by fitting the knob into the hole, widening the hole so it nestled in fairly securely while showing most of the knob. Next, with the aid of a tomato/strawberry huller, I carved out six little spots for decorative (yet still edible!) mini melon balls or berries.  Then I used a toothpick to keep the knob from departing from the teapot lid, snapping off the protruding pick underneath.  Lastly, to complete the lid, I scooped tiny watermelon balls and popped them into the awaiting spots.

Using both ends of my Core 'N More, I made nice round melon balls in small and large sizes, a little messy but fairly benign.
The next part of the process looks a bit gruesome, so scroll down half of a screen if you are squeamish... 
***The proceeding images may be disturbing to some viewers.***
***Viewer discretion is advised.***
These remind me of the Watermelon Shark project from last June - the leavings look like guts and the scraped-out bowl of the pot almost resembles the inside of a mouth less the teeth! 
Or perhaps these are akin to oral surgery pictures.  Open wide and say, "Ahh!"

Back to more civilized topics...
To form the handle and spout, use the slice taken from between the lid and the belly, cut it in twain, and remove most of the red watermelon flesh BUT not as much as shown below (sniff), lest your teapot's appendages appear anaemic.  I just kept holding the pieces up to the belly and cutting them until I thought the length and angle of the additions looked right. Toothpicks kept them embedded into the belly; I snapped off the extra so no one would get an unexpected fibre boost accompanying the fruit being served from the inside of the pot. 

In the end, it looked quite pretty.  I didn't have enough fruit to fill the teapot to the top so I inverted a small bowl inside the belly.  Thinking on it now, I guess it was kind of a push-up bra for fruit salad.  Shhh...don't tell the secret...

When it was time to decorating the school party's lid, I thought I'd mix it up a bit and alternate mini melon balls with blueberries in a nerdy-but-predictable-for-a-teacher AB pattern.  I aligned the lid, and it just worked out that the dark blueberries were in spots where they looked like eyes and the vessel had a cute pink nose.   

Miss Teapot was born.

Then, I thought I'd take a photo of it in a way where you could see the fruit. 
Lo and behold, it looked like Miss Teapot was smiling at me! 
 So friendly and adorable...
'Twas the sweet SMILE of success!

Thank you for not giving up on the Island.  I guarantee that I shall be a loyal blogger through the summer: I have lots of ideas and things going on!  Next Tuesday, I will be offering my baking at the Farmers' Market at the Fish & Game Building in Bonnyville, having been encouraged by Rosemary and Sharon.  I plan to have lots of chocolate, one to two treats which will appeal to the kiddies, and a gluten-free offering as well. 

Happy Summer to all and to all a good bite!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Drop me a line - comments, questions, and your own ideas are all very welcome! :-)