Bring a whimsical feel to fruit salad at your next baby shower by serving it in a watermelon baby carriage. The carriage makes an adorable infant-themed centerpiece for the buffet table and is simple to make -- the needed items are found in most kitchens.
Select a watermelon that is large and oblong. Do not pick one that is too oblong -- it needs be proportionate. Choose a melon with a firm shell that is free of cracks, holes and leaks. Refrigerate the watermelon until you are ready to begin preparation.
Select which side will be the top and which will be the bottom. Choose the side that the watermelon naturally rests on to be the bottom. Flip the watermelon so that side is facing up.
Slice a small piece of watermelon shell off of the bottom with the large knife. You want to shave off a small layer so the bottom is now flat. Do not cut all the way through the shell. A white, not a pink, layer should be showing in the cut.
Place the end of the knife and pierce the white layer four to five times in various spots to create weep or drain holes for the juices. Flip the watermelon back over to rest on the flat spot you made.
Measure 6 inches in from one end of the watermelon. About two-thirds of the way up the watermelon, make a mark with your marker. Trace a line around the watermelon horizontally, stopping 6 inches from the other end. Take the marker and connect the two ends of the lines by drawing a line vertically over the top of the watermelon.
Take a long knife and cut on the vertical line going across the top of the watermelon. Do not thrust the knife too deep into the fruit. You will be able to tell when you have cut through the rind, as the knife will give a bit. Go slowly.
Cut the horizontal line around the watermelon next. Lift the section of shell from the watermelon when you are done. Set aside.
Cut decorative shapes, such as scallops or zigzags, into the curved edge (the stroller hood) if you would like to add that detail. Take the knife and cut out V-shaped or circular sections 1 inch deep into the hood. You can choose to leave it straight and embellish with a ribbon.
Scoop out the fruit with a melon baller and place in a bowl. There will be more watermelon fruit than you will need for your salad. After you have enough for your salad, cut the fruit out in chunks with a small paring knife. Hollow the watermelon out, as you would a pumpkin, until it is free of fruit.
Take the piece of shell you removed and measure and draw a 5 x 5-inch square with the marker. Cut it out with the knife. Measure and draw a 4 x 4-inch square with the marker. Cut it out with the knife. You will have a square with a cut-out center; this will be the carriage handle. Scrape the watermelon from the back of the handle, being careful not to break it.
Break a toothpick in half. Hold the handle on the inside of the carriage at the end opposite of the hood. The rind should be touching the rind of inside the carriage. Press half of the toothpick on the left side through the shell, the handle rind and into the carriage rind to secure the handle. Do the same thing for the right side. Use another half a toothpick per side if it feels wobbly.
Place the watermelon on the serving tray.
Cut an orange into 1/2-inch round slices. Stick a toothpick at the bottom of the carriage in the four corners where the wheels would go. Push the toothpick halfway into the watermelon. Slide the center of the orange slice over the toothpick and then repeat for all wheels. Place a red grape on top of the orange, at the end of each toothpick to make the hubcap.
Cut the fruit for the salad and add to the watermelon you set aside earlier. Spoon into the carriage.
Place bibb lettuce leaves around the bottom of the carriage as garnish. This covers the juice that will run out of the weep holes. Tie a ribbon vertically and horizontally around the edges of the carriage. Use the floral pins to keep the ribbon from sliding off the watermelon. Affix a bow at the corner of the hood with a floral pin.
Keep your watermelon refrigerated to prevent over ripening before you carve it. Serve with poppy seed salad dressing.
Do not make earlier than the night before the event. The watermelon will dry out, harden and crack.
Do not skip the weep holes or the juice will build up and over saturate your salad.