I have a small obsession with growing up. My wishes range from having a car and a puppy to dreaming of the day when I’ll stop thinking that fart jokes are really the funniest of them all. Sometimes I get pangs of adulty withdrawals and scrounge through Craigslist for things my parents have. Like kitchen islands and lamp shades. Curtains.
It’s not just the things. I yearn for conversations outside of the next meal and how’s-work-going. That’s what makes you an adult, right? Black coffee and philosophizing?
I don’t think I’ll ever be an adult. And I don’t really want to be. I’d much rather hang out with my high school friends and rewatch Harry Potter until I know the script by heart.
There’ll be plenty of time to put down a mortgage, get matching towels and talk about what Ira Glass said on the last episode of This American Life. Too much time, really.
But at least I can still play in the dirt and bring home rhubarb every once in a while. And if that’s what it means to grow up, then I’ll stick with it.
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake.
3/4lbs rhubarb, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons cut into small cubes and chilled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, cook the rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt on medium heat until the rhubarb is soft and slightly caramelized. Make sure the sugar doesn’t burn. Because that’d be lame. And you’ll probably have to start over. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, remaining sugar and baking powder. Add the chilled 6 tablespoons of butter and shortening and using your hands, gently break apart the pieces until the flour mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the milk and eggs and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Gently spoon the dough on top of the caramelized rhubarb and smooth over lightly with a spatula.
Place the skillet into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Once you take it out of the oven, let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before flipping it onto a large, flat serving platter. If you don’t have one (because you’re lacking in the kitchen department of adulthood), a cutting board should work. Or a pizza peel. Whatever.
When you flip it, swear as much as you need to ensure it’ll come out in one piece. You might have to coax it with some kind words after being so mean.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Or just with a fork.