Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slum Dog Rhubarb ...

When you are used to a Southern Climate, move home to The Prairie, and are just coming out of a long, cold, and very white Winter, it doesn't take a lot to flip you out. That is just one of the best things about being home ... appreciating and respecting Mother Nature and the changing Seasons.

We spent most of the day yesterday outside and around our Property ... all of us ... including Ruby, Bean, Mama Mia and Leo. It's not like we accomplished anything. We didn't need to. It was all about the sun, the fresh air, the birds, and things turning green. I found lots of things coming to life in my flower garden but was more taken with our Rhubarb Patch. My photo shows each stage minus the stalk, and that's not far behind.

The leaves first appear in a red pod. Sun and warmth cause the leaves to enlarge and they break a tiny whole in the pod in an "egg hatching" sort of way. From that hole the leaf spills out first and is followed by the quick growth of the square green stalk.

Rhubarb deserts are traditional on The Prairie but not everyone can handle them. You either love it or you don't. I have a recipe that came from Doris Bue, my College Algebra Tutor, that's a Torte combining the filling with a shortbread crust and a topping of real whipped cream. They have a way of taming down the wild sweet/sour flavor of the Rhubarb without it getting too much of your attention.

It's known as an aggressive laxative and slimming agent too, but it's the word "Rhubarb" that gets to have all the fun.

It's very common for a crowd of extras and actors to shout the word "Rhubarb" repeatedly, in a manner not syncronized, to cause the effect of general hubbub. As a result, the word is sometimes used to mean the length of B. S. text in speaking or writing. Stage actors also use the word, repeating in a low or murmured tone, to provide background voice ambiance in crowd or party scenes.

"Tis Rhubarb!" denotes something as nonsense.

The term "Rhubarb" has been used in baseball forever to reference a fight amongst many players or a brawl that will clear the bench.

In Batman, Jack Nicholson/The Joker tells Michael Keaton/Bruce Wayne "Never rub another man's Rhubarb!" as a warning to leave Kim Basinger/Vicky Vale alone.

The word Rhubarb was used in World War II to refer to low flying missions for planes.

And the phrase "putting it in the rhubarb" describes driving a vehicle off of the road, and possibly into roadside vegetation. Similar to golf, when your hook shot lands you "In the Spinach."

You know more about Rhubarb now than you may ever need or wanted to. But what you learned here could some day be one of those pieces of knowledge that comes in handy for Crossword Puzzles, Trivial Pursuit, or finding yourself on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Happy Earth Day from The Prairie.


  1. Adn here...all this time I just thought is was some silly looking fruit pie ingredient.

  2. Yummy - the only other thing I need to know is when are you making the shortbread/rhubarb dessert?

  3. Thanks for this...I love rhubarb! Is the Barb commenter above any relation (I just had to ask)?

  4. As I grew up, it became a summer time thing to just rip out a stalk of rhubarb and spend the afternoon chewing, chewing, chewing on it, making sour faces all the while. I never could get myself to eat a rhubard dessert though!