Memorial Day: My Grandmother’s Rhubarb Pie

I am home in Fort Wayne for the long weekend and not only did I get to attend the birthday pool party for my favorite five year old, but I also ended up making a rhubarb pie. I have great memories of my grandmother making rhubarb pie and it is my dad’s favorite. She grew the rhubarb herself and I always remember her having it when we visited. My dad decided to run into Hill’s Market for a pie and when he came out empty handed because they sold out, I said, ‘Why don’t I make you a rhubarb pie?’ He went back in for the rhubarb and I am happy to finally say I have made a rhubarb pie. I have no idea what took so long. I think part of it is the confusion about which part of the rhubarb plant will kill you. To clarify: the leaves are poisonous and the stalk is the part you actually want to eat. That said, you have been warned.

This is the closest recipe to my grandmother’s that I could find and it is really easy to make. I always make the crust (it’s not that hard!) and make it in the morning since you need to refrigerate it for a few hours. Rhubarb pie can be hard to find, so if you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to branch out and make one! I’ve seen recipes for crumb toppings and two crust versions, but hers was a custard pie, so that’s what I made. Feel free to skip the additional water in the custard – I skip it because the consistency works without it. The crust recipe will make two crusts, so feel free to double the custard and make two pies.

It’s also important to remember what Memorial Day is all about. The pool, barbecue, and adult beverages are all a nice way to welcome summer, but be sure to remember the men and women who have served our country. Memorial Day was created on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day. In 1950, Congress passed a resolution asking the President to issue a proclamation to observe each Memorial Day as a day of ‘prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.’  President Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. It is a day to honor the men and women who have died in all wars.

This is my dad’s mother’s recipe and holds a special place in my heart because I look just like her. Dark, curly hair, tiny, kind of sassy and stubborn, and a book nerd. She met my grandfather at Butler University and he served in the Navy. Here is a photo of my grandmother and the flag from my grandfather’s funeral.

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We also saw a deer and its baby on the way to the pool party. Fort Wayne has some beautiful spots and this reminds me of how I grew up. It was never unusual to see deer in our backyard.

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Grammy’s Rhubarb Pie

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