It’s a line you might hear in an old movie, usually delivered by a cigar chomping agent/producer/director to a plucky young chorus girl just itching for her shot. “Kid, you’ve got MOXIE!” Look it up and it means courage combined with inventiveness. That’s good for a start, but I think it means much more. To me it embodies someone who’s taken a few hits, maybe even more than a few, but instead of letting it destroy her gets up, throws her shoulders back, and says “Oh yeah? I’ll show ‘em!” We don’t seem to use words like ‘moxie’ anymore. They’ve been relegated to the back of the vocabulary closet with other mothballed verbiage like ‘pizzazz’, ‘oomph’, ‘spunk’, ‘razzmatazz’, and ‘zing’. Maybe I watch too many old movies. And sure, times have changed. But considering the current crap-storm the world out there seems to be weathering, I’m thinking there is no better time to open the closet and pull out a little moxie.
One of my favorite qualities (other than my impeccable taste in footwear) is my moxie. I think I was probably born with it, coming from a long line of moxie-rich ancestors, but it didn’t really start to show some oomph and pizzazz until I hit the 4th grade. My class was doing a historical play about…well, I have no clue what the script was about. What I do know is I was cast as Susan B. Anthony. And let me just say, I made a hell of a suffragette. Long dress, braided hair powdered gray and piled on top of my head, my 9-year-old incarnation was getting women the right to vote come hell or high water! Our gripping elementary school production was in two parts, which gave the audience an opportunity to catch their breath from all the action on stage (and take baby brothers to the potty before an unfortunate accident.) So naturally, there was need for an intermission act. But who?
I’m sure many of you out there are aware of Susan B. Anthony’s contributions to women’s history, but did you know she was also a virtuoso on the accordion? Well, my version of her was. So the minute the curtain closed on Act I, a hand appeared from within the folds gripping a music stand, followed by our Susan B, white mother-of-pearl adult-sized accordion strapped to her chest. A hush fell over the audience as the accordion, (and my parents) took a BIG breath and out flowed the Wild Gypsy Dance with all the razzmatazz and zing a 4-foot 11-inch high suffragette could muster. Just as our Susan was hitting the second verse, the man-sized accordion started to slip down her little girl-sized body. But did this deter our gal? Never! As the accordion moved down her body, her right knee moved up to meet it, resulting in a pitch perfect rendition of flamingo dressed as Susan B. Anthony playing gypsy music on a mother-of-pearl squeezebox special with gild gold minor keys. And there sitting in the audience was my mother, who leaned into my beaming dad and uttered, “You know what? That kid’s got MOXIE!” Know what?…I still do!
If there was ever food with moxie it’s rhubarb. Looks like pink celery, tastes awful raw, but just add sugar and cook it down and it becomes zippy zing and razzmatazz in your mouth. Pair it with some sweeter fruit and you’ve got a combo as good as a one-legged-4th-grade-accordion-playing suffragette! This time of year my desserts move away from heavier cakes and cookies and towards fruit-based sweets. I came up with this Peach Rhubarb Sauce as a twist on the more traditional strawberry-rhubarb combo (which I LOVE) because Trader Joe’s had some terrific ripe peaches on sale the other day. Wonderful on its own, over yogurt, ice cream, pound cake, or even as a neat alternative to strawberries over shortcake, it is also a terrific compliment to next week’s recipe (and you’ll just have to tune in next week to see what that is!). And the best part? It’s all done in 10 minutes in the microwave. Give my peach rhubarb sauce a try – it will definitely put a little pizzazz in your mouth!
Peach Rhubarb Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 3 peaches, peeled and chopped to total 1 ¼ cups
- ½ cup sugar (or more to taste)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 peach unpeeled and chopped to add in at the end
Put the first 4 ingredients in a deep microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir and microwave again for another 5 minutes. Let cool a little and taste for sweetness. I like this more on the tart side since I’m usually serving it over something sweet, but how much additional sugar you want to add is completely up to you. Add in the remaining chopped unpeeled peach and stir. Will last 1-2 weeks in a jar in the fridge or you can freeze for up to 2 months. Calories: approximately 100 per ¼ cup.