Rhubarb has an interesting and exciting history. The Emperors of China used it as a diplomatic weapon, withholding exports of rhubarb to nations that had displeased them. See here:The imperial commissioner Lin Zexu, who was sent to Canton in 1839 to put an end to the opium trade, wrote a letter to Queen Victoria pointing to the "fact" that the foreign barbarians surely would die if they could not obtain tea and rhubarb from China.
Friday, February 12, 2010
John Derbyshire eulogizes rhubarb, as well he might. I too fondly remember our patches in the Wyoming yard of my youth, dipping the ends in sugar. And rhubarb baked goods are noble things. But I was unaware of its historic renown: