By Gini Rainey
Have you ever given much thought to where things get their names? I do all the time! My brain can be like the blinking blue light special at K-Mart and go all over the place on a train of thought, once it gets started. My husband used to be very tolerant of my thought process and would listen to me explain how I got from “Point A to Point X,Y, and sometimes Z,” but over the years, I have a sense his patience has all but flown the coop! So, I’m sitting here gazing out the window at this magnificent spring afternoon and trying like crazy to keep myself focused on the task at hand, but my mind keeps wandering all over the place!
I’ve got this cute little cookbook in front of me that I picked up in Pennsylvania many years ago on one of East Texas Handbell Ensemble’s tours to Hershey. While most of the other ringers were digging through piles of quilts in this little store on this trip, that was tucked away somewhere between Blue Ball and Pleasure, I was looking through the cookbooks. I came up with The United Christian Church Home Auxiliary Cookbook from Annville, Pennsylvania, that was published in 1992 and is filled with a lot of local recipes contributed by the auxiliary members.
So, I’m sitting here, leafing through the book and my wandering (and sometimes strange) mind starts thinking about a lot of the recipes. While nearly every recipe sounds pretty yummy, there are questions running amok through my brain. For instance, the recipe for Banana Pickles does not have any bananas in it, what’s that all about? The Cucumber Salad is made with pickles, and what makes the Golden Rod Beans golden? How did someone come up with the recipe for Wieners Stuffed with Mashed Potatoes? And I know for a fact my family would rapidly exit stage left from the Liver Burgers, wouldn’t yours? It must be a regional thing, but all of the recipes that have ground meat in them call for hamburg. Spam and Noodle Bake? Nope.
I have to say, though, that what gets my personal nod of approval is there are several recipes that include both raspberries and rhubarb. In fact, the recipes for desserts up nearly half of the pages in this book, proving that there really is life after Barbequed Liver. This recipe for Rhubarb Crunch is amazing and provides just the right amount of tart/sweet to finish off a spring-time grilled meal, like chicken or hamburgers. Combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¾ cup uncooked oatmeal and ½ cup melted butter and mix until crumbly. Press ½ of the crumb mixture into a grease, 9 – inch square baking pan. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons corn starch, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan and cook over a medium heat until thick and clear. Stir in 4 cups of rhubarb and pour over crust and top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Serve warm and of course, for extra yum, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Which makes me wonder – how did the word rhubarb come to also mean a heated dispute or controversy?