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April 10, 2012

Ode on Rhubarb

Filed under: Cooking — Alison Aten @ 4:31 pm

Eating, Reading and Living Well

Today’s blog post is a poem by Kim Ode, author of Rhubarb Renaissance.

Meet her Wednesday, April 11,  at 7:00 p.m. at the Merriam Park Library as part of the Eating, Reading & Living Well program hosted by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and sponsored by Mississippi Market.


Come midmorning, my sister and I

Would be shooed from the sandbox

To pick a dozen stalks of rhubarb

For that day’s pie.

There is a knack to picking rhubarb.

Grab too high and you snap the stalk.

Grab too low and you lose the leverage

For that crucial tug from the root,

Like pulling a boot from spring’s muddy gumbo.

Then we would take our lives in our hands

Lopping off leaves coursing with enough poison

To kill a congregation –

Or so we’d come to believe

Given the stern order never to taste them.

The work was both gratifying and disconcerting,

Entrusted to wield foliage so deadly

We could not feed it even to the hogs,

Bur heaved the leaves into the ditch

Onto a wilting mound that grew with every pie.

So, if I hesitate over that first bite,

It’s only a flicker of remembering how it felt

To bring those stalks into the house,

Hoping we had not been trusted too much.

–Kim Ode

Rhubarb Renaissance

For recipes and rhubarb inspiration, see:

Star Tribune feature

Spiced Couscous with Rhubarb and Figs recipe featured on

Kim on Wisconsin Public Radio (Archive 4/9/12 @ 11:45)

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1 Comment »

  1. I had to try a couple of your recipes but alas, no rhubarb had yet come my way. So for the first time in my life, I actually purchased rhubarb. Your book is good for the economy too!


    Comment by Pam Hopf — April 11, 2012 @ 8:42 am

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