When I was a kid, I was such a sound sleeper that I once slept through a tornado that touched down on the street behind our house. The early-morning twister quite unexpectedly roared through the pea green sky like a commuter train making up for lost time. Or so I’m told. I didn’t hear a thing before my mom shook my shoulder and yelled, “Kirsten! Get up! We have to get into the basement NOW!”
Believe me when I tell you that not much will get me up-and-at-em faster than the threat of a tornado raging through the backyard. We scooped up our little schnoodle Smudge, and made it into the basement with just in time to hear a booming CRACK! before all went eerily silent. I’m convinced that the silence in the eye of the storm is almost more frightening than the howling winds surrounding it.
Thankfully, we were all safe and the tornado spared our home, but the massive oak tree in the backyard didn’t fare as well. Most of the uprooted tree was thrown over the neighbors fence, and onto his garage.
Immediately following the storm, the neighbors bewilderedly filed out of their houses to discuss what had happened, and to inspect the damages. For weeks, our neighborhood was a bustle of activity as everyone banded together to help one another with the clean-up efforts. I was young, so I don’t remember all the details, but I imagine that some brought shovels, some brought saws, and others brought cold drinks. What I do remember is the overwhelming sense of community that I felt as neighbor came to the aid of neighbor, simply because it was the right thing to do. People helping each other cope. People helping each other heal.
After the storm clean-up, our yard was home to a gaping hole where our tree once stood, so my mom decided to plant a garden smack-dab in the middle of it. The garden stood as a reminder of the blessing of escaping tragedy, and of nourishment brought forth in the aftermath.
Among the rows upon of zucchini and other vegetables sat a couple of rhubarb plants.
On the hot summer days that followed, I would often pluck a stem of rhubarb out of the garden and munch away my thirst on the tart, juicy stems. If I could curb my snacking well enough, my mom would bake a couple of strawberry-rhurbarb pies to share with our neighbors. To this day, I can’t look at rhubarb without thinking of that tornado, of the neighbors that became like family, and of our modest little garden where the tree once stood.
Since my CSA basket this week contained several stalks of rhubarb, I decided to skip the pie, in favor of breakfast muffins.
Skip the pie?! I know! I’m not sure what’s happening to me, either.
However, I can say for certain that I’m glad that I made the muffins because they were an instant hit with my family. My Rhubarb Crumb Muffins are speckled with tangy, juicy rhubarb that’s comfortably cradled in the delicate muffin, and adorned with a sweet, crunchy crown.
Rhubarb Crumb Muffins are a little sweet, a little sassy, and every bit scrumptious.
The recipe makes two dozen, so they’re the perfect little treat to share with your family, and your neighbors that are like family.