I was brought up in the rhubarb capital of the world. It grew in clumps in my childhood garden. But I never greatly liked the stuff. The stewed rhubarb and custard that was compulsory weekly fare at school dinner was enough to put anyone off for life.
Well, not quite for life. The other day a friend (thanks, Erica!) gave me a few excellent sticks of home-grown rhubarb. And spurred on by this generosity, I have cooked a very passable - even if I say so myself - rhubarb and blueberry crumble. Blueberry because rhubarb is so tart it needs a countervailing sweet fruit for full satisfaction. And we had some blueberries in the freezer. It worked well. Patent pending - full recipe on request.
So I have recommuned with my culinary heritage. The rhubarb triangle is, in case you don't know, a small enclave of west Yorkshire, encompassing Morley (my birthplace), Wakefield and Rothwell. Indeed, the 'Morley Observer' once commented, with a straight face: 'With the demise of the mills and mines in Morley rhubarb production is the only traditional industry left to the town.'
That was back in 2004. Since then, the sun of good fortune has not shined on Morley's rhubarb forcing sheds. (Like mushrooms, the best stuff grows in the dark). There are, at most, only a dozen rhubarb growers still in business in the triangle - and I'm not sure that any of them are in Morley proper. But if rhubarb and blueberry crumble catches on, perhaps there's hope yet for my home town.
UPDATE: There's a site which has a range of remarkable rhubarb recipes - including rhubarb mojito and rhubarb margarita. Strange - don't remember them from my early years in Morley.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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