You have to live where the cold wind blows, where snow drifts, and where everything freezes over in order to grow rhubarb. Rhubarb is the fruit of the prairie homesteader. If you didn't like rhubarb, then you probably didn't get much for *fruit* out on the prairie 'cause there wasn't much else growing. Some prairies -- not all -- have a few wild plums, some chokecherries, and wild rose hips, but not much else. Rhubarb plants were carried out to the prairies by homesteaders because they would grow robustly in poor soil and would provide vitamins and minerals every spring to fruit-hungry mouths that had waited all winter long for a tangy bite rhubarb sauce or rhubarb pie.
Have you ever noticed rhubarb and lilacs growing where an old homestead had once stood? Tough plants both, withstanding tough times. I have found rhubarb patches growing in different places here on our ranch in spots where families once tried to prove-up on their 160 acres. Some homesteaders made it, many did not, but the rhubarb survived.
I have very fond memories of my grandpa and grandma's farm in eastern South Dakota where there was a rhubarb patch on every farm and rhubarb in most backyards. We kids used to go pick us a long stalk from their humongous patch and bring it into the house to dip into sugar and eat it raw. I don't recommend eating rhubarb this way, but kids tend to eat things like raw rhubarb and crab apples despite their parents' warnings of bellyache.
My own parents carried rhubarb roots from Grandpa & Grandma's farm to their backyard, and I took root cuttings from the folks' plants and rooted them in my own backyard years ago. I have since moved old plants and split my own rhubarb to grow in various spots in my yard and to share with my daughter in town. The original mother plant still refuses to give up growing even though I thought I had totally uprooted her to a new spot. A tiny bit of root lives on. Hardy plants for a hardy people.
Did you know that rhubarb is packed with vitamins A and C and with minerals potassium, magnesium, and calcium? No wonder it was considered spring tonic! All I know is that I like rhubarb best in fresh rhubarb-custard pie with a little vanilla ice cream on the side. Oh, I have lots and lots of other rhubarb recipes that are delicious, but this is my favorite of all. Spring has come and summer is on the way when the first rhubarb pie is whacked up. (Don't watch while I lick the plate.)