We had a rhubarb plant when I was a kid. It was tucked somewhere in the side yard, between the big vegetable garden and the lanky-limbed pine tree. When we weren’t climbing that tree, my brother, Jeff and I liked to perform ritual vegetable sacrifices.
Some of the earliest edible spring arrivals come in stalk form. Featured here are four of my favorites (from top to bottom): rhubarb, ramp, asparagus and chives (well, a single chive). For this first part, I’m going to delve into the r’s: rhubarb and ramps.
After a long winter filled with incalculable amounts of beans, hearty soups and depressing tomatoes, it’s time to lighten up. As soon as I can go outside without layers of down and wool I begin fantasizing about the culinary possibilities. Strawberries! Rhubarb! Tomatoes! Usually I get ahead of myself, and this was especially true this year. After all, I was wearing a winter parka deep into April. With the unrelenting cold, things have been slow to emerge, but there are signs of life. Asparagus and rhubarb, the earliest of the spring vegetables, are beginning to make an appearance.