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AN ODE TO RHUBARB

FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

I first began exploring Amish communities when I was high school, an English paper assignment sent me on a sojourn into the hills and hollows of Adams County, Ohio, where I first met these peaceful people. It was then that my interest in the Amish was cultivated.

Nothing can bring back memories of these early journeys quite like the tangy smell of fresh rhubarb. This garden goodie is a staple of summer in Amish households. It's easy to grow and very versatile. Rhubarb can be used in cakes, pies, jams, breads and countless other culinary concoctions. I must 
confess, I've never been a huge rhubarb fan: that is until Elizabeth's daughter, Verena, recently gave me a jar of her homemade rhubarb jam to take home. Yum. I smeared it on everything from toast to waffles. So my verdict is hold the rhubarb pie, still, but give me some jam!

Many Amish Cook newspaper column readers request rhubarb recipes, so I recently asked Elizabeth to share some of her family's favorites, located below.

For those of you who wonder about how Elizabeth is doing in the wake of her husband's recent death, I did visit the family on June 21, 2000. There's not much to say. It's only been a month since Ben's death. Time has a way of taunting us. It creeps forward like a glacier when we want it to gallop, time gallops when we want it to creep. Time is creeping forward for Elizabeth now. Tears come easily to Elizabeth as she stands in the kitchen of her house and recalls memories of her life-partner. She is surrounded by a supportive, loving family, which does help, but little else can be done to ease the grief than let the tonic of time apply its salve to the soul.

Other items to check out on this site this week. See the Scrapbook section for some additions to my photo diary. Also, check out The Amish Cook Shoppe for information about a release of Elizabeth's 1994 cookbook. This is being released for a limited time in July 2000 to coincide with the 9 year anniversary of The Amish Cook column. Also, photos of Coblentz Chocolate Company candy are now on display in the Shoppe.

RHUBARB JAM

5 cups finely diced rhubarb
4 cups white sugar
1 6 ounce package of strawberry J-Ello or whatever flavor you prefer

Combine rhubarb and sugar and let set overnight in a cool place. The next morning, boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Jello until dissolved. Pour into jars and seal.

RHUBARB COFFEE CAKE

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 /2 cup shortening
1 1 /4 cup of brown sugar
1 /2 cup sour milk
1 egg
2 1 / 2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/ 3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream shortening, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add milk, soda, salt, and flour, stirring until flour is moistened. Dice up rhubarb and mix in. Spread in a 9 inch square pan. Sprinkle with 1 /3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon, which were mixed together. Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

RHUBARB CREAM PIE

2 1 /2 cup rhubarb, cut fine
1 1/ 4 cup sugar
1 /3 cup, plus one 1 tablespoon, flour
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Mix sugar, flour, cream, salt, and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Put rhubarb cuts on top. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and bake until set like custard. Makes one pie.

RHUBARB BREAD

1 1/ 2 cups of brown sugar
2 /3 cup of oil
1 egg
1 cup sour milk
2 3/ 4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/ 2 cups diced rhubarb

GLAZE: 1/ 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix ingredients in order given. Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350 for 45 minutes. Brush on glaze and let bread cool.

Kevin Williams
Executive Editor
Oasis Newsfeatures

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