YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Grandma Rosie’s Rhubarb

Last week, I wrote about my Grandma Rosie’s chopped eggplant, and it was a huge hit! So now, this week, with the rhubarb starting to poke up in the garden, I thought I’d write about her rhubarb. But first a few words about the woman herself.

My Grandma Rosie was an extraordinarily good cook. I mean — really, really good. She made chicken soup, like my friends’ grandmas, but she also made many dishes that I never saw in any other grandmas’ homes, dishes like stuffed veal roasts and chicken fricassee, chopped eggplant (see last week’s post), stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage, homemade water bagels, chopped green beans, salads of every imaginable variety, potatoes and spinach, calves foot jelly (p’cheh), and all kinds of other delicacies. Her kitchen was always warm, her table was always full, and her creative expression seemed unlimited.

Grandma Rosie wasn’t nearly as interested in baking as in cooking, however, so there were just a few desserts, and they usually consisted of some kind of fruit. My favorite, hands down, was her rhubarb. The mix of sweet and tart has always been absolutely irresistible to me.

1 pound rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces (approx 3 cups)
2 apples, chopped (sometimes she used a pint of strawberries instead)
1/4 cup raisins
juice of 1 lemon plus zest from 1/2 of lemon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place ingredients in covered dish, stir, and cook in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook for 15 minutes more.

You can serve this plain or you can dress it up with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream, a spoonful of unsweetened whipped cream, or a little fresh cream poured on top. The last few times I made it I added to the recipe a small (finger-tip sized) nub of ginger chopped into into very tiny pieces. I’m pretty sure Grandma Rosie would have gone crazy for it. She loved when we took her recipes one step further.

Grandma Rosie’s rhubarb is delicious served warm, cold, or at room temperature. You can’t go wrong.


When it’s Not Really Fruit or Vegetables

If I had just ten seconds to share nutrition advice, I know exactly what I would say: Eat more fruits and vegetables. And I don’t think that would surprise anyone. We all know that fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, rich in not only fiber but also phytonutrients, and everyone knows it’s a good idea to eat more of them. Especially since most of us don’t eat enough produce to begin with.

Now, the brand managers in the food industry know that we know we should eat more fruits and vegetables. This is why there are so many processed food items containing fruit-related words, or some version of the actual word “fruit.” Vegetables, too, to a lesser extent. Like vegetable oil. And which “vegetable” would that be, please? Continue reading


Fruit: Friend or Foe?

Here is how this all got started:
Last month I received an email from a friend asking about whether it was okay to eat a lot of fruit every day. She had seen an article in the NYTimes, “How to Stop Eating Sugar,” in which she read that fresh fruit is a good way to satisfy a sweet tooth without resorting to processed items with their excessive (absurd even, I would say) amounts of added sugar. Without specifying exactly how much was too much, the author included a warning… … Continue reading


Can a Simple Bowl of Fruit Heal Us?

“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters. If not, we will perish as fools.”  —Congressman John Lewis on July 8, 2016.

The events of the past week have shaken me, like many, and I don’t feel much like talking about food. Today I want to talk about something else. Like most important lessons, I have learned this one the hard way.  Continue reading


The Glycemic Index

Many people have heard of the glycemic index (GI), but they are not exactly sure what it means, or how it works. A low glycemic index diet is thought to significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease and even certain cancers. This is probably true, but not for the reasons people think. Continue reading