Highschool is one of the best times in many people’s lives, and I am no exception. Good memories, not-so-good memories, sad, funny, and cool moments took place all during my high school days, but there is one special thing that particularly reminds me of my high school years: agua de sandia (watermelon agua fresca).
The high school I attended in Mexico City is integrated into the national university of Mexico – my alma mater, UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico). The high school’s system is the same as the University’s. Different than most high schools in the city, we didn’t wear uniforms, the system was mostly self-taught and self-paced, schedules were flexible to allow students to work if they had jobs, and we didn’t have school staff watching us like hawks, making sure we went to class on time. Every time I talk about it, my husband says it was basically my “first college,” because many of my experiences there sound almost like a typical college experience.
My friend Liliana and I loved going to the basketball courts; not so much to play basketball, but to eat! All kinds of food trucks would park right behind the fence of the school. As long as they weren’t breaking any health codes, they were allowed to sell their foods to students through the fence! What a genius way to make a living, right?
Las canchas – The basketball court was the place to eat!
We had all kinds of vendors, from tortas (classic Mexican sandwiches), gorditas, hamburgers, some traditional Mexican desserts like flan and jellies and plenty of others. My favorites were hotdogs with French fries, because the food truck lady was very sweet and knew us all by name. Her prices were just right for our low student budget and her food truck was the cleanest.
Most of our favorite vendors knew exactly what we were going to buy. As soon as they saw us coming, they would nod and start preparing our order just like we liked it.
My friend Liliana and I would order two hotdogs, French fries and then go to the “aguas frescas” stand an buy a whole liter and a half of agua de sandia (watermelon agua fresca). We would sit around and enjoy our meal on the basketball court. To this day, every time I see watermelon, I remember those days.
Agua de sandia reminds me of simpler times. It reminds me of good friendships that I still greatly appreciate to this day. It was during those years that I met some of the most interesting and smartest people of my life. Most of them came from a very different background and culture than mine. They caused me to grow, opened my mind to new things, and also helped me reaffirm many values that my parents had taught me from my childhood. As an adult, I am thankful for that season of life!
Agua de sandia is one of the most traditional drinks in my country. It is perfect for the hot season; it is all-natural, and very easy to make. I wanted to share this recipe with all of you, so you can enjoy it during the hot summer days as the ones we are having here in South Louisiana.
Agua de sandia (watermelon agua fresca)
(about 2 quarts)
4 cups of diced watermelon
4 cups of water
1/2 apple, cored
Sugar, to taste
1. Blend the diced watermelon with about a cup of water along with the apple.
2. Once blended, strain the mix, slowly adding the rest of the water through the strainer.
3. Add sugar and adjust to taste.
4. Serve on ice