It’s spring at my house when I start breaking into my stash of summer clothes … but still cover up with insulated jackets and wool socks.
In the store, it’s spring when the rhubarb shows up. Right across from the shiny red strawberries that are dead white inside.
Much like dressing for a transitional season, I think it can be tough to work with rhubarb. It’s a stalk, for one thing — not a dainty raspberry that can crown the top of a cake. It’s basically just like celery, which you would never cut up and display over, say, an eclair.
Color is an issue too. All the pretty bright pink is only on the outside. And when it’s not pink, it’s green, which ruins the iconography. I used to know one chef who’d color his rhubarb compote with grenadine to keep things in the pink.
For me, though, the uncertainty is part of the charm of the season, like snow in late April. Tank tops with corduroys come around only once a year, and rhubarb does too.