Thursday, June 2, 2011

ode to rhubarb

I know that I am not the only one singing the praises of rhubarb, but please, humor me. Rhubarb, along with asparagus, is one of the first types of local produce to arrive at the farmers market here in my home state of Michigan. I watch for it, waiting in anticipation as the days get warmer, and then it finally appears, heralding summertime, whispering of all that is to come.

So naturally, I wrote you a poem about how much I love rhubarb. That's a perfectly normal thing to do, right?

Roasted rhubarb, above, adapted from such recipes as those of Molly Wizenberg at Orangette and Luisa Weiss, the Wednesday ChefRhubarb tarts with a corn flour crust, below, from Kim Boyce's brillant Good to the Grain. This recipe can also be found online at the Smitten Kitchen.
Ode to Rhubarb

Your long stalks
Deepest red
Pink fading to green ends
They beckon me from where they rest
On the tables at the farmers market

And in an instant
I am dreaming of crisps and cobblers
Of warm, bright pockets of fruit
Encased within the crumb of a perfect scone
Or under the layer of brown sugar and butter
Topping my mother's quick bread,
Breakfast on the last days of school before summer
I am dreaming of ruby-red juices
Threatening to escape the confines
Of a small, misshapen tart
Which I will call rustic
In explanation of its imperfections

I am dreaming of filling my bright red pot
With chopped stalks
Of a matching hue,
Stirred with sugar and vanilla
And a splash of wine
(Red or white, I've yet to decide)
They will fall apart
And become, like magic,
Something I never know quite what to call
But will gladly put atop my oatmeal
And over ice cream and yogurt
And beneath soft pillows of whipped cream

I am pulled back to reality
As I hear the old man say,
Why not two pounds?
Why just one?
(I think to myself that
He is so thin
Like a stalk of rhubarb)
And standing there in front of his stall
Your beauty before me
I am easily convinced

As I leave the market,
My bag is heavy
And I open my heart
To summer

1 comment:

  1. this is lovely. your writing is splendid, and those tarts!
    thanks for the inspiration of summer.