What is the question that comes to mind when you think of rhubarb? I know which one it is. That isn’t my concern, though.
What I am curious about is how many people stipulate in their last will and testament whom the rhubarb in their garden should be allocated to?
I had this conversation with a friend of mine last night at a birthday party while eating her homemade rhubarb cake. You already guessed that the cake was delicious, otherwise it wouldn’t have been the subject of our discussion.
She also explained to me that the rhubarb used for the cake had grown in her grandmother’s garden. Everybody in her family loved rhubarb and her grandmother’s garden was the family’s one and only source of this precious vegetable.
Recently, she even learned that her sister hadn’t received the same version of the family’s famous rhubarb cake recipe. Apparently, the number of eggs and the amount of sugar differed slightly. She hadn’t yet decided what to think about her discovery and was still struggling to understand how and why that could have possibly happened.
Her story resonated with me immediately. Here is why.
Almost to the day 10 years ago, we relocated from Singapore to Ruggell, the most northern village of the Principality of Liechtenstein. After many years in condos without much greenery, we were looking forward to having lots of green space around the house. Luckily, a vegetable garden slightly neglected by the previous tenant formed part of the property. So we took the task upon us to recultivate the vegetable garden. Having spent many hours in and around it, we noticed a rhubarb plant a few meters away in the cow paddock. Not trying to overanalyze the situation, we grabbed a spade, dug out the rhubarb and planted it into our vegetable garden on the other side of the cow fence. Now it was ours. Who would have guessed that we didn’t want to leave it behind once we moved out of the house.
Three years after the moment we took ownership of the rhubarb it was time to move on. There was just one issue to negotiate. What about the rhubarb?
It had to come with us. Generous as we were, the arrangement with the owner of the property foresaw a split of the rhubarb. Ever since splitting it and planting our half into our new vegetable garden, it has been growing steadily year after year. Harvest normally starts in May and ends on or before June 24 as every rhubarb afficionado would know.
Having stopped collecting financial assets some time ago, I have put the rhubarb on the list of «valuable family assets to be handed down to the next generation».
I always considered myself a fool for thinking that way about a vegetable. No more.
Yesterday’s birthday party, the delicious rhubarb cake experience and the conversation with my friend about her family’s rhubarb legacy have changed it all.
Happy to call her my rhubarb soul sister.