The weather predictions do not reinforce the calendar, but nevertheless, tomorrow is the first day of spring! I am a big fan of four-season weather and love parts of each one, but I think spring is my favorite. My favorite flowers -- daffodils of all varieties -- appear in the spring. Spring is alive with possibility in a way that no other season is: seeds get planted, baby animals appear in the fields, the first green buds appear on the trees.
And, of course, there are many foods I associate with spring. On Facebook, a friend in Illinois has been posting pictures of the first morels of the season. I have spent happy, muddy, exhausting days with him, walking up and down the steep slopes behind his house, searching the ground for those elusive mushrooms. The deep "spring-ness" of this activity was always reinforced by the spring wildflowers we encountered: trillium, may-apples, Dutchman's britches, and others.
Spring brings asparagus and peas, new radishes and strawberries (eventually). In some parts of the world, it brings wild seasonal delicacies like ramps and morels. But my heart has a special place for this beauty:
Rhubarb is truly one of my very favorite foods. For decades (very literally -- I think I made my first when I was 12 and I am now three decades past 12), I have made a rhubarb tart that has become a staple recipe in my extended family. It was originally based on a recipe that came from Parade Magazine, of all places. The recipe was for a faux Linzer tart, with plain bread crumbs replacing the nuts in the crust. It called for canned cherry pie filling, and I made it that way the first time. But then rhubarb season arrived and this was clearly a crust recipe begging for rhubarb. To me, the first rhubarb tart of the season says that spring has truly arrived. Although the raised beds we inherited with our house are in rotten shape, one thing thriving are the divisions we made of an ancient rhubarb plant. I'll give it a few more weeks while I finish out my sugar-free Lent, and then I see my harbinger of spring, the rhubarb tart, on my plate.