One Awkward Vegetable Mystery

Question: do you know what a rhubarb looks like?

You don’t! Quick, think. Rhubarb! What comes to mind? For me, either a pink eggplant or “sort of like a rutabaga.” Which asks another question: what is a rutabaga?

I can’t picture a rutabaga, but the word makes me laugh. Obviously it’s like, German or something, but in my brain it’s said with heavy stereotypical Italian inflection of both the voice and hands.

“Moore Rooo-taaa-bay-gaaaah,” yelled Fiero. “It’sa fora the gnochiiii!”

I guess if I had to conjure an image of a rutabaga, it would also look like an eggplant, only brown. Rhubarbs, rutabagas and eggplants: all the same, but a little bit different. Vegetable Kardashians.

It turns out rhubarbs are more like long pink celery, without the leaves. I learned this today when, in a burst of domesticity, I decided to try my hand at baking a sweet spring treat – strawberry rhubarb crisp. I’d no sooner arrived at the fancy produce mart when I realized I wouldn’t recognize a rhubarb if it ran me over by a truck. I mean, I’m not saying we should start allowing veggies to drive trucks (what’s next? Veggies wanting to marry their dogs?!) but what I am saying is that I don’t know what a rhubarb is.

I managed to track down a helpful produce guy and he ALSO didn’t know what rhubarbs were (Me: “Hi! Do you carry rhubarbs?” Him: “Ummm? What’s a rhubarb?” Me: “Oh you knowwww…roots. Vegetables. Root vegetables”) which was no help for my crisp but excellent first person research for my new book The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled Was Convincing us that Rhubarbs Were a Thing.”

Spoiler alert: we figured it out, eventually, and I Martha Stewarted-ed (verb, look it up) the shit out of that pink celery. My crisp looks like miserable and tastes basically like jelly covered in cinnamon crumblies, but I ain’t mad at it.

One mystery remains: WHAT is a rutabaga??



One thought on “One Awkward Vegetable Mystery

  1. “Rutabaga! Warm up, you’re going in.” – Manager of the Cubs calling in the dugout to Henry Rowengartner, his 6th grade relief pitcher. (1993 Motion picture ‘Rookie of the Year’)

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