Sunday, June 13, 2010

Timely Intervention

Just when it looked like summer might cut the green period short, we welcomed a weekend of wet. It all started with a hailstorm Friday that left my car with a fashionable textured look and stripped twigs from the oaks at the county courthouse. Green streets takes on a whole new meaning. I'd driven north just a few miles to Golden, fortuitously arriving at a traffic light just in time to meet the storm, not one golf ball of which settled on the home turf. Sitting duck, listening to it thunder against the car, no camera.


Friday night it arrived, a steady downpour most of the night, threatening floods in various Front Range communities, flushing algae and, I hope, mosquito larvae out of rainbarrels, and setting everything outdoors awash. Yesterday, waves of gentle rain passed through, separated by misty intervals—all very Pacific Northwest. More of same today, as it looks. Tomorrow, or whenever this lifts, is going to be VERY good for weeding! (Honey, looks like the lawn needs mowing again.)

All this rain also makes the rhubarb very happy, if not the celebrants at the 23rd Annual Pine Rhubarb Festival, where I spent most of yesterday. Though the crowd was reduced in size, its spirits were undampened, and the crowning of the Rhubarb Queen ("best ever rhubarb pie") happened right on schedule, as did all ten minutes of the parade. Between the all-you-can-eat pancakes with rhubarb sauce and the highly diverse bake sale that followed the judging, it was a delicious place to be on a rainy day.

Obligatory botanical note: Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum (formerly R. rhaponticum), is a member of the Polygonaceae, not native to the U.S. but widely grown in the east and midwest and, yes, Colorado. Its stout petioles are edible, but its large leaves contain higher concentrations of oxalic acid and are considered poisonous. When cooked with sugar, the stems are used in "fruit" pies and other pastries, but lately I've had two reports of children in Mexico and other places enjoying the stems raw, difficult as it may be to imagine. (One entry in yesterday's bake-off was a rhubarb salad (not baked), but I didn't get a taste.)

Incidental personal revelation: Rhubarb also had a peripheral role in our courtship, via a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, which must have been pretty basic as I don't even remember the recipe. I think it may have been not so much the substance of the pie as the fact that I could even make a pie that captured Darling Husband's attention.

Bonus link: A fun read on the 17th annual Rhubarb Festival.


4 comments:

Watcher said...

I need to try rhubarb before I die...

Sally said...

Yes, I think a risk-loving botanical adventurer such as yourself should definitely try rhubarb!

許百美 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Ga said...

Raw rhubarb with sugar. Yum! All the time when I was a kid!

Maybe that's not so weird in the UK!