Mention rhubarb to food lovers and a faraway look comes into their eyes. "I remember when I was a kid just pulling up a stalk and eating it raw," reminisces Darlene Johnson, founder of the Rhubarb Festival in Aledo, Ill. "Now people tell me, 'All I want is a piece of old-fashioned rhubarb pie'—they'll stand in line in the rain just to get one!"
Rhubarb's unforgettable taste goes well with newfangled recipes too. "At the festival, we've had salsa, salad dressing, barbecue sauce, wine, and even caramels," says Johnson. These recipes offer a few modern twists to try with this old favorite.