Yes, I know I have written about my love of rhubarb before. (Read here.) and I will probably write about it again, but making rhubarb sauce is one of those spring moving towards summer rituals that marks the passage of time for me. Is it possible we are already at this stage of the year?
I know for many "getting through the winter" is an endurance test and balloon bouquets are released when spring finally dominates. I know many cling to these warmer months and guard the oncoming summer as if that will make the days last longer, pass slower, and yet, we know that doesn't work.
It is mid-May now and soon it will be June and on and on the days and weeks and months pass. And the years. The inevitability does not listen to our pleas, "How can this be?"
Therefore, I mark the coming of rhubarb and the making of rhubarb sauce as one of those rituals which reminds me of the past, clears the way for future days, and encourages me to treasure the present moment. All in a sink-full of rhubarb stalks. Of course, there is the side benefit of deliciousness, too.
The Past: I recall my mother saying more than once how it was a crime to have to pay for rhubarb, for it is just a weed. Mind you, she always fixed rhubarb sauce and torte without growing rhubarb herself. Did she beg or "borrow" bunches? Or did she stoop to buying it at the grocery store? This house left us a legacy of healthy rhubarb plants, and if Mom were still with us, she would be waiting for a speedy delivery from me.
The Future: If it's time for rhubarb, it is time to make our summer list. Where do we want to go on afternoon fields trips or day long or overnight road trips? When our children were growing up we always made a Summer List, and it was fun brainstorming ideas and then making each item a reality. On my list this summer is to go to the International Wolf Center in northern Minnesota and the Japanese Garden at Como Park in St Paul and maybe a long weekend in Door County and a St Paul Saints baseball game in the new stadium and to eat at each of the restaurants on the chain of lakes here in the Twin Cities. Wow, I guess my list is longer than I thought.
The Present: Rhubarb reminds me to savor the flavors of right now. The sweetness with maybe just a touch of sour to keep us awake. A friend who also loves rhubarb told me about having a piece of her homemade rhubarb pie for breakfast. It was there waiting for her in the refrigerator when it was time to fix breakfast. Why not? I delivered rhubarb sauce to my Dad Sunday afternoon and it makes me so happy to know how something so simple pleases him. My next batch will go to our daughter's family, but you can be sure I reserve some each time for us. Yum.
Before we know it, if we are lucky, we will be thinking about fall flavors, applesauce and all things pumpkin. Let's not waste a moment of where we are right now, no matter the season of the year --and our lives.
What in your life brings together the past, the present, and the future? I would love to know.
Combine 3 cups rhubarb cut in 1-inch pieces, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to boiling; cover and cook slowly till tender, about 5 minutes. Makes 2 cups. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate.