Frequently as I look at recipes from the past, and think about what my ancestors in aprons had in their kitchens, I realize how different our staples were. What things would grandmother and great-grandmother have in their kitchen that I no longer think of as necessary?
Tapioca–before the 1900’s old-fashioned ball tapioca, and after that, Kraft Minute Tapioca® in a small red box. Tapioca went on the market in 1894, and you can read the history of Minute Tapioca here.
My mother always had it on her shelf, as did my grandmother, I imagine. So did Agnes Badertscher (Ken’s mother.)
Ken loves rhubarb pie, but he has been after me to make it his mother’s way, thickened with tapioca, so I delved into the comfort food of old–tapioca. Besides making a nice, bland, comfortable pudding, tapioca is handy for thickening all sorts of things.
I made a rhubarb-strawberry pie by accident. Because it turned out the farmer’s booth at the farmer’s market did not have enough rhubarb for a pie, I had to stretch it with strawberries. But I used Minute Tapioca for the thickening instead of flour, for the first time. And it was great. Agnes Badertscher’s way of making rhubarb pie has won me over.
I’m pretty sure that Agnes, as well as my mother, would have initially used the recipe on the package, which has not changed, so I used the Minute Tapioca which has not been a staple in my kitchen for a very long time, and tweaked their recipe just a bit. Be sure to use the perfect pie crust recipe.