Another Trip Down the Rabbit Hole of Memory Lane

While my grandson’s rhubarb pie was in the oven this morning, I went on a trip down memory lane.  And seeing as how this is Wednesday and I need to write my blog today, I’m taking my readers along with me.

My first husband wasn’t the least bit handy which is to say, he was what you might call your basic hammer and tong man.  If something didn’t fit, he pounded it into submission by virtue of sheer brute force.  When it came to moving things, his idea was load stuff into the pickup and get ‘er done.  Which is why the cushion for my relatively new platform rocker blew out of the load on I-10, somewhere between Bisbee and Tucson.  Bungee cords were not his friend.

When we moved to the house on the hill in 1968, we inherited some appliances from my husband’s grandmother—a frost-free refrigerator and an automatic washing machine.  They were working just fine when they left his grandmother’s home in Tempe, but by the time they arrived on the hill, having ridden in the back of the pickup ON THEIR SIDES! (Not recommended) they weren’t exactly work wise.  The frost-free fridge was no longer frost free.  In fact, it morphed into a semi-freezer and froze every vegetable I tried to store in it.  Frozen cherry tomatoes?  Those aren’t recommended, either.

As for the washer?  It went from being an automatic washer to being a SEMI-automatic washer.  Which is to say, the filling mechanism no longer functioned.  It agitated just fine.  And the spinner worked, too.  But to fill it for either washing or rinsing, I had to carry buckets of water from the kitchen sink to the laundry room.  That lasted for the better part of a year.  Then, one fine summer’s day, during a monsoon thunderstorm, my washing machine got struck by lightning, never to work again.

And I couldn’t have been happier.  I turned to my husband and said, “If God had wanted me to wash clothes, She wouldn’t have struck my washing machine with lightning.”  And from then on, we packed up the dirty clothes every Thursday morning, dropped them off at the laundromat in Sells before school, and then picked them up again after school—washed, dried, folded, and ironed.  Whoo-hoo!!  Such a deal!

When we moved from the reservation to Pe Ell, there was a patch of rhubarb growing in the back yard.  I asked my next door neighbor,Sophie, what I should do with it.  “Oh, she said, “all you need is some sugar and tapioca to turn it into a pie.”  It’s fair to say, that for pie you also need a pie crust.  This would be in my make-it-from scratch days, and that’s how I made pies in Pe Ell.

But times change.  Even though I CAN make pie crusts, I no longer do so.  To quote myself from forty some years ago, “If God wanted me to make pie crusts, would She have created Pillsbury ready made ones?”

Colt’s rhubarb pie will be made with real rhubarb and a cheater crust, but that’s way better than no pie at all.

Thus endeth today’s trip down memory lane.


11 thoughts on “Another Trip Down the Rabbit Hole of Memory Lane

  1. Absolutely right on the pie crust. Made a LOT of apple pies with homemade crust back in the day but Pillsbury does just fine now! Have a great Fourth of July and thank you for all the entertainment over the past thirty years!

  2. We had a long row of rhubarb on the farm in Iowa. I learned to make pie when I was in high school. There is only one plant where I live now, but enough for me. When I pull the ribs out of the ground, I cut off the leaves and throw them on the ground for mulch. I use the recipe on the Minute tapioca box.

    I use canola oil when making pie crust now. It is always nice and flaky.

  3. The rhubarb made it into the pie? When I was growing up my Mom would stew it intending to make a pie, but everyone would go by and “taste” it and before long there wasn’t enough for a pie. Where I live now it is too expensive to buy but I sure have memories of that sweet stewed rhubarb taste.

  4. Love your memories of your adventures with your alcoholic! At least he gave you some writing material. Those of us who have been there and done that appreciate your validation of our experiences!

  5. I made 2 rhubarb pies last weekend. Of course ready-made crust is the best. You can’t go wrong with rhubarb, sugar and tapioca. I add a dash of cinnamon too. And we never, never put strawberries in. But I did add a few blueberries to one for the first time. That turned out OK. However, straight rhubarb is the favorite in my family. Our rhubarb patch has been in our yard for over 40 years. It was one of the first things we planted when moving into this house and the only thing still going strong. It has been a good year for the crop.

  6. I’m with you all the way with ready made pie crust! Its my salvation, since i never could make decent pie crust! I add a bit of orange zest and fresh juice in my son’s favorite…rhubarb custard pie ? My plants that I grow at our summer place at the lake in Minnesota are struggling this year ?

  7. I’m with you all the way with ready made pie crust! Its my salvation, since i never could make decent pie crust! I add a bit of orange zest and fresh juice in my son’s favorite…rhubarb custard pie ? My plants that I grow at our summer place at the lake in Minnesota are struggling this year ?

  8. My mom made great pie crust before she gave up baking. She always scolded me about the ready made crust. Finally I smartened up and when she said something like “this is great pie, but did you make the crust from scratch?” I started saying “oh, I finally listened to your advice” (true) and that was the end of that lecture. I just make the edges a bit more rustic looking from the cheater crust in the red box and all is well. But I’ve never tried making rhubarb pie, maybe your grandson will be my inspiration.


  9. O-Boy, what’s not to love about Rhubarb Pie? My Mom was the greatest cook and baker, but I did not inherit her abilities. Just yesterday I considered my efforts of stirring up a giant bowl of potato salad as a total failure. My polite neighbors insisted it was good, but I suspect it was the salt, pepper and relish they added made it edible.

  10. I just have to comment on making pie crust. When I learned to bake we had our own pigs and so had lard. I used 1/2 lard and 1/2 Crisco for pie crust. After I left home it was a long time before I made rhubarb pie again, but I used all Crisco for pie crust. I found out about using vegetable oil a couple of years ago and that’s what I do now. No matter what you use, the secret is to handle the dough as little a possible.

    I add almond flavoring to the rhubarb and also put little pieces of butter on top before I put on the top crust.

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