Olga and John’s garden. The place where I learned that cucumbers were prickly. Where I experienced the novelty of picking a perfectly ripened tomato right off the vine for my bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Where I discovered that an odd looking plant with stalks like red celery could be cooked into a sauce that tasted like summer and heaven-all rolled into one.
Olga, and John. My great aunt, and great uncle. John had been a rail riding hobo during the Great Depression, and Olga, embarrassed by her teeth, would often cover her mouth when her picture was taken. I loved them both enormously.
They lived a magical life in Twin Falls, Idaho- in a tiny house with a huge garden out back. I often think that everything, in my mind, that comprises the perfect way of life, was influenced by them.
Their backyard was my most favorite place of all. I remember sitting around an old spool table, eating delicious meals cooked by my aunt. My uncle, I remember, kept chickens, and I can still see them- perched up in the branches of trees. They were his pets. I recall drinking iced tea from glasses with different types of trout painted on them.
And always, rhubarb. Strange stuff, I thought, as a kid. But oh so good.
Now I have my own rhubarb. Three sturdy plants that get bigger each year. And I couldn’t be happier.
(It looks like Kona appreciates rhubarb too!)
Below are two of my favorite ways to prepare rhubarb. (Both, are even better with the addition of a little vanilla ice cream!)
The sugar can be reduced to about 1 cup, and less salt and butter can be used as well. (1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup butter for example. I’m still experimenting with proportions to make this a more healthy version.)
I’ve modified this recipe a little bit as well: I use about 4 to 5 cups rhubarb and 1 cup sugar.
There are many, many more ways to use rhubarb than these two recipes: in muffins, breads, pies, coffee cakes. Oh the possibilities…
Rhubarb is good for you too. One 26 calorie cup contains substantial amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Plus it is rich in antioxidants that benefit the heart and brain.
Thanks for the memories.