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As a kid, rhubarb played a pivotal role in my life. It was a literal role, actually. One on the stage. If you're acting in a crowd scene, someone told me, and everyone mumbles, "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb," it sounds from the audience like there are lots of real conversations going on. This is a big deal to a 12 year old in a school play.
What, did you think I was going to say that every summer I used to pick rhubarb with my grandmother from her backyard garden, and then she'd teach me how to navigate life while we baked pies in the steamy, rustic kitchen? Well I wasn't. And I didn't. And that's fine. Or at least I thought it was fine until I started a food blog five years ago and realized that without a steamy, rustic, rhubarb-infused past, I had no street cred whatsoever. And that regardless of how many times I'd said "rhubarb" in a school play, no one would ever trust me.
That's why, no joke, the first guest post I ever ran on my blog was about someone else's experiences picking rhubarb and making pies with her grandmother. It's also why I've gotten a little aggressively handsy with rhubarb in the ensuing years. Fake it 'til you make it, and by "it" I mean rhubarb pie.
Or rhubarb juice. This recipe is so simple (just rhubarb and water!) and so genuine and pure that it might just make up for all those years of lost childhood. It's wildly international, too, having come to me in London via an Australian friend from her Canadian friends, who served it at a lazy weekend brunch a few weeks ago. Wildly international has got to count for something.
My friend couldn't stop talking about how good it was, and how deceptively simple. And I totally agree. Not, of course, that anyone would ever take my word for it.