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Start breakfast right with a rhubarb coffeecake recipe from Rachel Shenk

Just yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with Chris, my delivery man. As I was checking in the 800 pounds of organic flour we receive and go through every two weeks, I noticed he was wearing a Cubs baseball hat.

Just like that, we were talking Wrigley Field, Harry Carey, the curse of the billy goat and Arrieta. Since I am a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, we could talk about the recent games the Pirates lost to the Cubs. It left me energized and happy.

In the household that I grew up in, I learned that it is important to keep myself informed about life in this world. My parents subscribed to a variety of publications and maintained a large library with fiction and nonfiction books. If I had a question about a topic, my father would always pull a book or two off the shelf to answer my query.

“Here, check this out. This author provides a view from this perspective. And to understand the other side, you might want to read this,” he would say. And so I read and discovered that there is more than one world out there.

From the classics of the early Greek philosophers to current bestsellers, I listened to many voices and viewpoints, always coming to a better understanding of our human condition.

And in my everyday life, those voices and worlds come alive in the everyperson I meet. If I run into Chris I can talk about the Cubs, and if I have breakfast with Margaret we can discuss political history, and if I see Sister Colleen I know what she is doing with First Communion.

I believe that the more I know, the more I need to know. And the better I am at understanding where and how and why and with whom others come to their worlds. That seems to go a long way toward getting along and finding those things I have in common with others.

So, yes, I try to watch the Country Music Awards and see Keith Urban hitting those guitar notes. I try to see who gets mentioned in the Venice Biennale and the Cannes Film Festival. I try to read up on current theology and poetry, the latest cocktail and clothing fashion, as well as keep tabs on weather and wars and happenings in our town. And, yes, please, keep me posted on all those things I have yet to learn about!

As spring finally hits its stride, and rhubarb has become a staple seasonal ingredient, here is a recipe for a weekend breakfast.





• 3 cups rhubarb, diced
• 3/4 cup orange juice
• 3 cups flour
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups sour cream
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 teaspoons lemon zest


• 1/4 cup butter, melted
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 370 F.
2. Wash and dice the rhubarb (do not use the leaves or upper stem).
3. In a small bowl, place the rhubarb with the orange juice and let it soak.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
5. In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream, melted butter and lemon zest.
6. In a separate small bowl, prepare the cinnamon crumble by combining the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon needed.
7. Grease a Bundt pan.
8. Combine the egg mixture, the rhubarb mixture and the dry ingredients, stirring well so the batter is well incorporated.
9. In the Bundt pan, pour half the the batter. Spread the crumble mixture evenly over the batter. Cover with the rest of the batter.
10. Bake in the oven, turning carefully once after 35 minutes.
11. Bake until brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
12. Let cool slightly, turn out of the pan and frost, if desired.


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