Rhubarbaria: Recipes for Rhubarb
Mary Prior has compiled an anthology of recipes ancient and modern that highlight rhubarb, which first came to us as a medicine but which has successfully naturalized as an especial British favourite. Drawing on the cuisines of England, Scotland, the Highlands and Islands, Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe, she provides a rhubarbic dish for every occasion. From its home in the northern climes of Asia - Mongolia, Siberia and the foothills of the Himalayas - rhubarb came first to Europe in classical times as a dried root with medicinal qualities. Thus was it was initially proposed to a British public. 'It purifieth the bloud and makes yong wenches look faire and cherry-like,' says Gerard in his Herbal in 1597. It wasn't until the 17th century that the fruit or vegetable was introduced to English tables. Mary Prior has undertaken an extensive search through earlier literature and presents here a commentated repertoire of every sort of rhubarb recipe. Whether with meat or fish, vegetables, as a pudding in its own right, as a jam or in chutney: all sorts of bright ideas are here explained. Given that it is one of the few plants that every gardener can manage to harvest - slugproof, droughtproof, floodproof, the lot - that delectable tartness and fresh, roseate pink can ornament the tables of rich man and poor. The book is divided into the following chapters: The Search for the True Rhubarb; Meat; Fish; Vegetarian Dishes; Soups; Puddings; Cakes; Ices; Jams and Chutneys; Drinks; Jam Making; Making Chutneys.
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