My dad called it a spring tonic. My mother named it a special treat.
Ma made rhubarb sauce, a sad green, stringy concoction that Pa insisted the entire family eat for it cleansed the system of the last remnants of winter as we moved on into spring. It was so sour that after a few teaspoons of it you remained puckered up for at least an hour.
Rather than celebrating the eating of the first crop from the garden in spring, we were subjected to a suffering of untold dimensions. I hated rhubarb sauce. My brothers hated rhubarb sauce. But Pa was firm, we must all eat it or we would experience a sickly spring. Nobody wanted to live through a sickly spring.
Ma saved the day, for not only could rhubarb sauce be a miserable thing to try and swallow, Ma’s rhubarb crisp was sheer delight. How could the same plant be both a miserable as well as a delightful experience?
Rhubarb could do it.
Here is a recipe for rhubarb crisp. No one wants to know the recipe for rhubarb sauce, except maybe a few like my dad who believed that the entire world should cleanse itself of winter by eating the sour, stringy stuff.
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup flour
I cup brown sugar
¾ cup instant, quick cook, or old –fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13-inch pan
Mix together the flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon.
Add butter to the flour mixture and mix until crumbly. Press about half of the flour mixture into prepared pan, reserving the rest for topping.
Combine granulated sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
Add water and vanilla. Cook over medium heat until clear, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add rhubarb to the sugar-water mixture, coating the rhubarb.
Pour rhubarb over crust. Sprinkle remaining flour crumbs on top. Bake until topping is light brown, 50 to 60 minutes.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Rhubarb pie is also pretty special.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Writing Workshop for 2016
Telling Your Story Workshop at The Clearing in Door County. Friday, August 12, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to get your name on the list. (Still Room)
May 14, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Booksigning, Dregne’s, Westby
May 26, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Society, 4128 Hubertus Road, Richfield, WI Whispers and Shadows.
June 7, 7:00 p.m. Cambria Library. Cambria Fire Dept. Community Center, Cambria.
June 11, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wild Rose Library. Telling Your Story
June 14, 9:00 a.m. Keynote speech. Country Heritage Day, St. John the Baptist Church, Montello. Barns of Wisconsin.
July 19, 11:00 a.m., Farm Technology Days, Snudden Farms, Lake Geneva, Walworth County. History of Wisconsin Agriculture.
August 9, 6:30 p.m. Winnebago County Historical Society. Oshkosh Library. History of Wisconsin Agriculture.
August 12 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County.
August 20, 10:30-11:30 am. Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street