The love affair with rhubarb continued through to the middle of the last century and there are many reasons given for the demise of the affair. The second world war gets the brunt of the blame with a lack of sugar to sweeten the rhubarb; as nearly everyone had rhubarb in the garden it was readily available therefore eaten a lot and by the end of the war the nation was sick of it. Rhubarb crowns for forcing need to be kept for three years without cropping but in war time this waste was deemed immoral so the crowns were cropped and pulped into jam. As a treat, children were given a stick of rhubarb and a little sugar to dip it into, when sweets finally made it back children certainly did not want to eat rhubarb.
Post war and eventually the end of rationing also saw the arrival of newer, chic fruits and vegetables, making poor old rhubarb seem a little old fashioned.
Now in the 21st century, rhubarb is back. After years of eating foreign, imported foods attention has once again turned to the home-grown. The growing awareness of where our foods come from and questions on the impact to the environment of importing foods means provenance, seasonality and locality is paramount in choosing the foods we eat. Rhubarb is a major beneficiary of this exposure and is flourishing. It is once again the darling of celebrity chefs and home cooks alike and has taken on a whole new persona, often now served with fish, and with meats no longer just a pudding ingredient. It has gained the lofty status of a "superfood" and just as with the Chinese millennia ago, rhubarb has seized the attention of medical studies owing to certain properties which are causing great excitement in the area of cancer research.