Memories and Rhubarb Bars
One of my grandfather’s pride and joys was his rhubarb patch. It was an old variety and grew long, wide, sour green stalks with huge leafs. The plants were so beautiful that they grew alongside some of the flowers and fit in perfectly. The only thing Grandpa knew how to make with the rhubarb was sauce. He cooked it down, sugared it, and we ate it like most people would eat applesauce. Once in awhile my mom would make a pie and become queen for just a little while. My grandfather was married for only about 11 years when his wife died of cancer. My dad was nine. Grandpa never remarried. He reared three sons on the family farm and they cooked the necessities only. So pie was a welcome treat.
When I married, all I knew how to make with rhubarb was sauce and never did make a pie. The first summer we were married someone gave me a huge pulling of rhubarb so I scoured the newspaper Wednesday section the following week and found the recipe that I submit to you today. That was back in 1969. It is baking as I write. But first let me say, the memory of making those bars and going on to learn many rhubarb recipes reminds me also of the sweet verses I find underlined in my Bible, and notes in the margin. For many years I have written dates beside particularly meaningful verses. Once in awhile I take down my well-loved and worn Scofield Bible and leaf through it remembering times when God used His Word to enrich my life.
Now, here is the recipe:
Crumble crust and top is made of 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ cups oatmeal (quick oats or regular, either one) 1 cup of shortening or margarine, 1 tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp salt, 1 cup brown sugar. Mix the ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbly. Press about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 greased or coated pan (you may use a spray if you want to)
Sauce topping is made of 3 cups of half-inch slices rhubarb, 1cup sliced strawberries, ¼ cup of water. Cook gently and stir once in awhile. When the rhubarb is getting tender, add 1 ½ cups of white sugar into which you have stirred 3 T of cornstarch. Now stir constantly until it is thickened nicely. Pour the thickened sauce over the crust; put the remaining crumbs on top sprinkling on evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350°
Let cool. Don’t serve hot. A dollop of whipped topping is nice, or ice cream. Store in the refrigerator.
Someone gave me some rhubarb this past week and it brought back so many memories. My son-in-law stopped by while I was cutting the rhubarb and made the remark “Oh those will taste so good” so I had better share them, you think? Of course I will! If you make some, please let me know.