Remarkable Rhubarb

Rhubarb Upside Down cake. Mmmmmm
Sometimes I wonder how kitchen delectables come about, especially when the raw materials aren’t so tasty on their own. Taste a raw cacao bean and you’ve got to ponder who had the genius to suppose that if you mash it up with sugar and butter and milk you get awesome chocolate.  Same with rhubarb.  Someone had to imagine those gorgeous stalks that look like celery on its way to Cinderella’s ball but taste like her fireplace could be redeemed with massive amounts of sugar and strawberries.

I didn’t grow up with rhubarb in my backyard – don’t think it grows too well in SoCal’s Mediterranean climate – but I was around it a lot during my fourteen year-sojourn in the Midwest. Minnesota rhubarb defies elements that would kill an orange tree in one day flat, coming back hale and hearty every year out of a frozen, 6-month-long coma. Amazing stuff.

Its leaves are elephantine-large and its stalks are a lovely ballet-pink that turn crimson in the long days of summer. My kids had free range to the neighbors’ rhubarb plants when they were little. They would break off a stalk, come into the house to pour a saucer of sugar to dip it in and manage to sprinkle most of the kitchen with crunchy granules. Ah, summer memories!

We ate a lot of strawberry-rhubarb pie – my favorite – and rhubarb slush – omigosh so good – and I do miss it now that we are back in San Diego.

This weekend, I went to the grocery store and bought several batons of rhubarb, very pretty though not fresh from the ground, and made rhubarb upside down cake. Yum yummy.

I am glad there are kitchen wizards who look at a thing that tastes pretty snarky on its own and who wonder, “What if?”

Keep the magic coming. . .

Author: Susan

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Anonymous on August 2, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Ah, creativity. I'm glad God shared that with us. And there are so very many times and places to ask, “What if…?”

    Your cake sounds yummy. Lived many decades in the Midwest and tasted many a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, but never a Rhubarb Upside Down Cake.

    Blessings (but no thanks for getting my taste buds going so late in the day!),
    Mary Kay

  2. Anonymous on August 19, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Can you please tell me which store had the rhubarb, and how much should I expect to pay?
    I found rhubarb once, last year, in one store, and each stalk was 79 or 89 cents…seems too much!

  3. Susan Meissner on August 19, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I got it at Stater Brothers, and I didn't pay attention to how much it was. I just needed it. I would have paid a dollar a stalk, but I don't think I did 🙂

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