Saturday, October 24, 2009
It's been good year for rhubarb. There's hardly a yard in Canada that doesn't have a rhubarb plant sprouting up as soon as summer comes. But in Kentucky I had to work to have a rhubarb plant. The problem is heat. Heat and dryness... rhubarb needs cold nights and lots of wet. This summer was rhubarb heaven here... not exactly cold but cool nights and lots of rain.
So today I harvested my plant for (possibly) the last time. I came in with a great pile of strong red stalks and no real idea what to do. I know how to make a fabulous rhubarb custard pie but I needed more. I started through my cookbooks and found a pie or two, but not much. Then I came upon a cookbook called "Schmecks Appeal" written by a group of German women and given to me in the late 80's.
Schemcks Appeal has a WHOLE CHAPTER simply and beautifully titled "Rhubarb." Included in the collection of recipes for everything from stews to punch to coffee cakes is woven tales of great rhubarb feasts and funny occurrences. Friends tell stories about friends.
I had forgotten how much I love this kind of old German farm women who cackle like hens with roaring laughter, are undaunted by any problem and who can create meals that take an hour to eat. These are not ultra thin babes with 25 pairs of shoes. They may indeed have ten pairs of boots, but they are some kind of beautiful plain folk.
Not that these women can't really 'put it on' if they so choose. They know what beauty is, and they have resources. The thing is though, that they think not much is more beautiful than a kid with a big smile on his face, or an afternoon of work with a friend and a truck load of laughing. (Often at men.)
So my rhubarb is taking me on a walk back to visit Elizabeth and Martha and Bernice and Ruth. I hope someday my granddaughters have a rhubarb moment with me.