The combo of strawberry and rhubarb always makes me think of my Mom. Her strawberry-rhubarb pie would grace the table each spring as surely as tulips would burst from the ground. When I was a child, I turned my nose up at it for being so tart. By the time I grew up and learned to actually like it, it had become to me like a painting that’s hung on the same wall in the same place for twenty years–I didn’t pay it much attention.
I first made this crostata four years ago as my own spin on mom’s traditional pie. A year and a half later, in the dead of winter, mom had a massive stroke. There were no pies on the table that spring, and there never will be by her hand again. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t kicking myself just a little now, wishing I’d appreciated her version more while it lasted.
But those if-only’s only sour the present moment, which is quite sweet when I choose to see it as such. Whereas in the past, Mother’s Day meant a card and a gift exchanged across the country, now Mom–and Dad–live right here in Healdsburg. For the second year in a row, we get to celebrate with three generations of mothers and daughters in my family, and I can finally ask mom for her recipe … while serving her my Strawberry-Rhubarb Crostata.
At the risk of sounding a whole lot like Forrest Gump, life is like rhubarb and strawberry. A little bit sour, a little bit sweet, each one intensifying the properties of the other. There’s balance there, and both need to be tasted in order to embrace the full pleasure of the whole.
From my family to yours … happy Mother’s Day.