Random acts of rhubarb
You wouldn't think a presidential election would change a garden, but the 2008 race changed mine. That year, political awareness in my part of town was so high that moms were organizing coffees and inviting speakers to discuss and debate the election. At one particularly contentious coffee, the talk turned (mercifully) to food and rhubarb came up.
I mentioned my obsession with all things rhubarb and how much I wanted to grow my own, to help satisfy my craving for rhubarb pies, crumbles and jams. Then I went home and forgot all about it.
A few weeks later, I got an e-mail from a stranger who had been at the party. The note gave me instructions on where to go and pick up some rhubarb crowns. So, like a spy making a secret pickup, I went to a street I've never been on, grabbed my plastic bag full of rhubarb knobs from the carport and drove away. I never spoke with the person who had left me the stash and not long after the election my computer crashed and I lost all my saved e-mails.
What I did have were the rhubarb crowns. We threw them in the ground and hoped for the best. The next year, the plants emerged. I wasn't able to harvest any because you have to let the plants keep all their stalks the first year. After the snow melted in late-March, my plants emerged and they're growing like crazy. I'm allowed to sparingly harvest the stalks this year, but luckily a little rhubarb goes a long way.
I'm using my rhubarb to make stuffed French toast, pies and preserves. My favorite way to use it is a Corn Bread-Crusted Strawberry and Rhubarb Cobbler, a recipe you may remember from my In Season columns in the Food section. Next year, I'll be able to harvest more. I'm told the rhubarb will take over the side garden I've planted it in.
I couldn't be happier.
-- Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, who writes the Food section's weekly Nourish column.
Posted by: northgs | May 13, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse
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