It’s almost that time of year – summer! Strawberries, asparagus, corn on the cob, peaches, oh, and of course, their awkward cousin, (you know, who makes everyone laugh a little uncomfortably while avoiding eye contact): rhubarb.
Before this time of seasonal enticement begins, I’d like to get ahead of the inevitable propaganda that comes along with it. Why are we all still pretending that rhubarb is delicious? I have a theory. Someone put it in a pie by accident and no one wanted to hurt their feelings. Kind of like The Emperor’s New Clothes, but with dessert.
Rhubarb can’t stand on its own. Somewhere along the line someone thought, “Hey, strawberries are just too sweet and delicious, let’s add just a smidge of bitter and stringy stalk bits – oh, perfect!” Rhubarb is Strawberry’s longstanding friend that poor Strawberry just can’t shake. They both know it’s time to move their separate ways, but clingy Rhubarb just doesn’t take the hint. Strawberry knows he’d be better off solo, but doesn’t know how to break it to Rhubarb.
This cover-up in modern cuisine is everywhere and social media is the biggest tool in this propaganda machine. Yes, Facebook, I’m talking about you.
“I just made the YUMMIEST rhubarb muffins.” Nope, ‘rhubarb’ and ‘yummiest’ are mutually exclusive.
“Check out this strawberry rhubarb cookies – SO good.” Stop dragging strawberry into this.
“Oooh, rhubarb coffee cake for dessert – can’t wait!” Liar.
Now, you might be thinking that I have it out for rhubarb, and you’re right, I do. But let me close with these two indisputable facts and then you can decide which side to support.
1. Rhubarb is a vegetable. (yup, I looked it up)
2. Rhubarb is a result of the fall: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles and rhubarb for you.” Genesis 3:17b-18
I rest my case.