Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The ever-giving memory: grandpa's rhubarb plants

Up until yesterday I had thought these rhubarb plants were put in my my husband's grandmother, Grandma Young. But I asked my father-in-law during our cookout yesterday and he told me the story.

His Dad, Grandpa Young to Jason, was an avid gardener. Always had a big, beautiful full garden. About 30 years ago he put in the rhubarb plants. He babied them, kept them immaculate, year after year.

When he got older, caring for them got harder and harder. He'd hoe a little, take a rest, hoe a little more. Eventually my father-in-law used to come down and hoe it for him. His dad would sit in his chair and say, "I wish I could do that."

Nowadays, my father-in-law continues to care for the rhubarb. I'm finding I'm getting quite attached to those plants as well.  I just could not wait until they were ready to pick this spring!

Even though this big bear of a man passed away many years ago, the rhubarbs stand tall and proud like he once did. I go down once a week, pull off several stalks and make the most wonderful cooked rhubarb. It's sweet and tart and, for me, full of the time, love, patience and care he put in for all those decades.

Even new baby ones are coming up. All his work had a purpose. We fill our bodies with it to this day. What a wonderful legacy.

Cooked Rhubarb
  • Half a cooking pot of washed, sliced rhubarb stems (my brother said the leaves are toxic! Yikes!)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, to taste
  • Couple ounces of water (4 maybe?)
I wish I had a more exact measurement but it depends how much rhubarb I have (I got the basic recipe from my mother in law). You don't want too much water or they'll get too mushy or runny. Gently boil on medium heat for maybe 10 minutes until the rhubarb starts to separate.

You can always add more sugar if the taste isn't quite right for you. It has a wonderful sweet-tart mix almost like a sherbet. Add a dollop of whipped cream and it is dessert!

For something more structured, here's a Martha Stewart recipe.

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