Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Rhubarb was a slow starter this year. (Sutton Seedless variety) But the minute my neighbor cut down his tree, it shot right up in the sun.  Pie!

My grandmother made the best pie crust in the world. One day I asked her secret. "I use lard," she confided.

Years later, when I came for Sunday dinner, the pie on the table was a sorry thing to behold. Flat and characterless. It tasted positively like cardboard. "You can buy these in the freezer section now," she proclaimed. "I'll never make a crust from scratch again." She was thrilled. I was miserable. Truth was, my beloved grandmother had just cooked too many meals for her six children and the countless grandchildren they gave her. She was hanging up her rolling pin.

The torch had passed. It was up to the eldest female grandchild, me, to keep the tradition alive. Lard, flour, salt, pinch of sugar, ice water and a little love. That's all it takes.

The filling is simply fresh rhubarb, sugar, a few tablespoons of tapioca to set, squirt of fresh lemon juice and dabs of sweet butter. I prefer to use red rhubarb - sweeter - but a fellow gardener brought some green rhubarb by and I mixed the two together. This pie had a lovely sweet tartness to it.

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