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What’s Cookin’? Rhubarb!

June 23, 2017

I always enjoy sharing my favorite recipes, especially when there’s a story behind the meals and desserts that grace the table. With rhubarb season here, one of my favorite desserts crafted from this late spring/early summer plant is rhubarb crunch, and I have the Milwaukee Brewers to thank.

Like most Milwaukeeans over the age of 40, I vividly remember the 1982 World Series. The whole town went Brewers Blue and the suds flowed as we cheered on The Crew to victory over the California Angels (now known as the Los Angeles Angels) in the American League Championship series. Unfortunately, the Brew Crew lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals, but that didn’t stop people from wanting all things Brewers-related, from caps, shirts, buttons, and even candy bars and hot dogs packaged with the Brewers famous ball and glove logo—and cookbooks.

Over the years, the Brewers’ wives have done incredible charity work for the community. In 1983, the women compiled a cookbook, What’s Cookin’ with the Brewers’ Wives? as a fundraising project. Our household never owned a copy, but our downstairs neighbor at the time immediately ordered the book and shared the recipes with us. We tried many of the recipes, and a favorite turned out to be Sue Gantner’s recipe for rhubarb crunch. To this day, the dessert is still a home run with everyone I serve it to, and whenever I take a bite, I always think of that glorious 1982 Brewers season and how a baseball team united a city. And better yet, our young 2017 Brew Crew is on track to a winning season, so be ready to turn the town blue again!

Rhubarb Crunch (Sue Gantner – What’s Cookin’ with the Brewers’ Wives c. 1983)

 4 c. fresh rhubarb pieces (about 2 pounds)

2 c. sugar, divided

1 c. + 2 T. flour, divided

2 T. butter, softened

1 t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

1 egg, beaten

¼ c. dry oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” baking dish. Combine rhubarb, 1 c. of the sugar, 2 T. flour, and butter. Place rhubarb mixture in baking dish and spread evenly. Mix remaining 1 c. sugar, 1 c. flour, baking powder, salt, egg, and oats, and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle flour mixture over rhubarb and shake down into pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool on rack.

  • For a vegan version, try Earth Balance butter and egg substitute – works great!

Sheila Julson is a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings magazine.




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