I’m a firm believer that many of the old ways are the best, and with that theory I include cooking. Finding an old cookbook is a treasure, especially those that are collections created by church ladies—the best cooks ever. Many of my grandmother’s and my husband’s grandmother’s recipes are still family favorites.
Anyone who knows me knows that I frequent flea markets and can’t resist a garage or rummage sale. At a garage sale a year or so ago, I unearthed a fat packet of yellowed recipe cards held together by rubber bands. Eureka! I asked the young woman how much they were. She took them and said, “I didn’t know these were here.” Then turned aside. “Mom, do you know what these are?”
“They must have been Grandma’s,” replied the older woman.
My heart sank. They hadn’t meant to toss them out with the junk.
But persistent one that I am, I asked, “How much?”
“Fifty cents,” says the daughter.
“Oh, a quarter,” says her mother.
“Halleluiah,” I say under my breath and snatch them back.
In that bundle I discovered newspaper clippings and recipes from old packages and hand-written recipes in the spidery penmanship of yesteryear. I’ve had a wonderful time testing them out.
My family loves rhubarb, and it has taken my husband and I several years to establish a good patch of our own. Now I’ve made rhubarb in a good many ways over the years, from plain sauces to crunches and crisps and jellies. But today I’m sharing with you the recipe that made that purchase a gold mine. It’s Rhubarb Cobbler by a lady named Gladys, and while the process seems a little odd, it’s the best cobbler I’ve ever tried.
Back in the day, these ladies weren’t concerned about sugar consumption, but I have experimented with less amounts of sugar and even with substituting part of it for a sugar replacement, and it still comes out great every time.
Rhubarb is a vegetable with a unique taste that makes it a favorite in many pies and desserts. It originated in Asia over 2,000 years ago. It was initially cultivated for its medicinal qualities, and it was not until the 18th century that rhubarb was grown for culinary purposes in Britain and America. In more recent history we heard it referred to as pie plant. Rhubarb is often commonly mistaken to be a fruit but rhubarb is actually a close relative of garden sorrel, and is therefore a member of the vegetable family. Rhubarb is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber.
Rhubarb is a perennial plant, which forms large fleshy rhizomes and large leaves with long, thick (and tasty) petioles (stalks). Rhubarb stalks are commonly found in supermarkets. Gourmet cooks prize fresh rhubarb. Some folks say the finest quality rhubarb is grown in Michigan, Ontario, Canada, and other northern states in the United States. Fresh rhubarb is available from early winter through early summer. Winter rhubarb is commercially produced in forcing houses in Michigan and Ontario.
From the kitchen of Gladys
4 cups (or more) of cleaned and chopped rhubarb
Place in 9×13 pan (lightly sprayed or not)
Sprinkle with ¼ cup (or less) sugar
Cream together all at once:
¾ cup (or less) sugar
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp melted oleo (margarine)
½ cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
Pour batter over rhubarb.
Mix 1 cup (or less) sugar with 1 Tbsp cornstarch.
Sprinkle over batter.
Pour 1 cup boiling water over all.
Grind cinnamon over the top.
Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I have used as much as 6 cups of rhubarb with the same excellent results.
I have run out of flour and used pancake mix with excellent results.
I’ve added 2 Tbsp of chocolate to the flour mixture and had yummy chocolate cobbler.
I’ve added ginger and cinnamon to the batter for a change.
You can’t mess this up no matter what you do!
My next experiment will be introducing strawberries to the fruit.
Cherries or peaches are also a good combination with rhubarb.
Thank you, Gladys!