Friday, April 22, 2011

Hush Little Baby, Don't You Cry. Mama's Gonna Make You Some Rhubarb Pie.

Yeah, right--I wish!

I saw some beeeautiful rhubarb, blushing with lushness, growing in a farmer's garden on my way to work this morning.  And it occurred to me that I have NO idea what to do with rhubarb. I think the leaves are poisonous.  Do the stalks need to be cooked?  Is it like red celery and would it taste good with peanut butter?  Anyone interested in taking on a rhubarb apprentice?

The appeal of seasonal eating is so strong for me.  I love looking forward to what comes with each season. I love finding recipes to highlight the best of what's growing now, because nothing tastes better than in-season fruits and veggies (and extra gold stars if you grew them yourself).  This is not at all how I was raised.  My mom is an awesome cook, but we ate the same sorts of dinners all year long, and they were GOOD.  But they weren't really seasonal; my mom has put a tomato in every salad she's ever made.  Back in the 70s and 80s when I was being reared up in Pendleton, Oregon eating seasonally and locally wasn't on the radar.  And my mom is slightly picky, so we weren't introduced to foods she didn't like.  I'm sure most moms are that way, though.  You won't find me serving up yucky drumsticks, mayonnaise-laden potato salad, or deviled eggs to J and C.  Rhubarb is one of those foods I was never exposed to, but now as a grown up person, perhaps that should change. 

"In just-Spring, when the world is mud luscious..."  --E.E. Cummings

It's the time to try new things, take a new path, and use what nature is offering up.  Tomorrow, the kids and I are going on our annual nettle gathering hike.  I will recite the poem above in its entirety, and they will listen happily.  We will wear gloves and snip nettles into our bags.  We will have a picnic.  And then we'll go home and make nettle soup, and possibly nettle pesto (thank you, Gee, for the sweet link to the pesto). 

And maybe, just maybe I'll figure out rhubarb this year,

"...when the world is puddle-wonderful."


  1. I wanna go nettle gathering with you! My only memories of nettles were getting stung by them at my grandparents' house on Whidbey. They were feared by all the cousins! I'm suspecting that foraging=fun...wanna check out that book, Fat of the Land. Did you find any fiddlehead ferns? They looked pretty yum in those photos. Lovin' yer blog, Mega!

  2. Oooh, what a world of things to discover, Meg! Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp will forever be one of my favorite desserts that Canlis served back in the day. I never thought I would like it, but was oh so happy to be wrong. And there are tons of other folks who are madly in love with this "red celery" as well:

  3. I keep some chopped up Rhubarb in the freezer and put it on vanilla ice cream, tasty, and icy. Actually I don't "keep" it this way, I run out of it this way!