Monday, May 23, 2011

I Ate The Rhu Not The Barb!

Growing up in Iowa I had a pretty cool childhood. It was a time when kids played outside day and night and hung out in their neighborhood with the neighbor kids. No car pools, internet, play dates. You got to know the neighborhood pretty well. The field where we played sports, the woods where we climbed across broken down trees, the mulberry tree that we climbed and hung out in for hours eating as many mulberries as we could from the big fat dark sweet ones to the  greenish pink under ripe ones that made us pucker.

One place that we loved to venture was Mr. Pendergast's garden. It was on a plot of land enough to build a house on but he used it for a garden. It was prestine. He was not an overly friendly man and not a lover of kids you could say. We'll being kids with a lot of time on our hands we would occasionally pilfer a tomato or on this occasion a stalk of rhubarb.

After our late night garden raid I woke up feeling funny. As I put my feet on the ground the next morning my legs gave out. I was covered with hives and so swollen I couldn't  move. My whole body was covered. My skin felt tight and itchy. It was a nightmare.

I called to my mom and she was in shock. She called the doctor right away and he agreed to come to the house. They did that sometimes in those days.  Dr. Graves came to the house and of course was grilling me on what I had eaten. I went through a list of what I had eaten the day before one item being rhubarb. The rhubarb caught his attention. Apparently the leaves are poisonous.

I was so shaken my mom said I blurted out "I ate the rhu and not the barb!"
Meaning I ate the stalk and not the leaves. 

Well I did recover and the swelling went down. I do eat and love rhubarb today and have never had a reaction. 

The rhubarb  in the photo is from my nice gardner friends who give me a big bouquet every year. If your not a gardener yourself make friends with some. Getting fresh fruit and vegetables is a real treat. When you know the growers it just tastes better. 

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