My Aunt Agatha was Awesome. With a capital 'A', which also stood for Angry, Agnostic, and Anaphylactic. At 93, it was an otherwise innocuous mortadella sandwich that killed her. None of us knew that mortadella sometimes contains tree nuts.
What I remember most vivdly is Aunt Agatha's cocktails. Omnipresent, and wherever possible containing rhubarb. She loved rhubarb. Rhubarb can definitely be liquified - you didn't know that did you. Most people bake rhubarb. Not my aunt - she drank hers, with gin. A lot of gin. She said it balanced out the health-giving benefits of the rhubarb.
Aunt Agatha suffered from seasonal depression. Rhubarb grew in abundance in Aunt Agatha's magnificent garden throughout the autumn and winter months, when her spirits tended to be at their lowest and she would often mention the war.
I would often help Aunt Agatha in the garden. Among many other useful things I learned that rhubarb leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid, a toxin that can cause vomiting and kidney stones. Though toxic, rhubarb foliage has its uses: after trimming her stems, Aunt Agatha would shred, boil and steep the foliage for a natural insecticide for her garden, adding a squirt of detergent as a sticking agent.
The rhubarb stalks would be washed and cut into pieces before she boiled them on the stove with water and sugar. After 20 minutes or so the rhubarb would be soft, and while the mixture cooled Aunt Agatha would deal to the leaves before pouring the stalk mixture into a blender to liquify. She'd add it to the jug of pink juice that was always, it seemed, in her fridge.