Friday, June 03, 2005


Some divide the world into two kinds of people. Mama Squirrel thinks there are two kinds of women: those who are still picking, cooking, freezing and eating rhubarb; and those who can't spell it, won't eat it, and don't care anyway.

Somehow, pride in this (neglected) corner of womens' life appeals to Mama Squirrel. Cleaning the nest does not thrill her by any means, but cooking is something she enjoys, and participating in the rites of rhubarb makes her feel a kind of sisterhood with those who have faithfully saved rhubarb recipes and created ways to make use of this weird dessert-thing-that-isn't-sweet.

When Mama Squirrel was very young, she did not like stewed rhubarb at all--it was right up there with turnips and canned peas. It was a weird brown colour, it was mushy, it was too sweet but still tasted bad. It also didn't help that one of Mama Squirrel's daddy's favourite teases was "Do you think the rain's going to hurt the rhubarb?" Now she not only eats rhubarb but bakes it into pies and crisps, and has ventured out with a pair of scissors to cut some off the neighbours' plant (it's okay, they asked her to). Then the neighbours moved and the rhubarb disappeared. This spring Mr. Fixit started saying the Squirrels needed their own rhubarb plant, but they didn't know where to find any.

Yesterday Mr. Fixit visited his massage therapist and mentioned our lack of rhubarb (having a back massage, unlike having your teeth fixed, does allow you a chance to converse with your health practitioner). The massage therapist, an enthusiastic gardener herself, knew someone nearby who had a backyard full of it and who would be happy to give us a piece--so Mr. Fixit came home with a pot full of rhubarb.

The young squirrels, needless to say, are only mildly thrilled with this acquisition (a pizza plant would have been more to their taste), but they are outside as Mama Squirrel types this, helping Mr. Fixit plant the rhubarb.

[Update: for rhubarb recipes on this blog, click on the "rhubarb" label at the bottom of this post.]


The Apprentice said...

What are you talking about, Mama Squirrel? I love rhubarb!

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Yes, it is an art to cook with rhubarb, isn't it? My 84 yo granny comes every spring and cuts and chops and stews and brews....and we all grin and devour. I think I need to learn the art myself...
Beautiful post!
Ann holyexperience

coffeemamma said...

We are knee deep in rhubarb here, too. We all love it, provided it doesn't actually look like rhubarb when it's ready to eat! Our favourite is Sour Cream Rhubarb Muffins- if I didn't make them over and over until the rhubarb is all gone, the family, I think, would vacate the castle...

I'll email you the recipe.