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In defense of ramp-lovers

greenramps.JPG

Things are getting a bit FinReg heavy around here, so let me take a moment to say that there's nothing wrong with people getting excited over ramps (a garlicky, green-onion like vegetable), and saying that arugula's "cultural life cycle has already come and gone" sort of misses the point.

People like tasting new things. Eventually, they've tasted them, and so they stop being a new thing and just become a thing. That's where arugula is now. Where once it was very rare, now it's pretty common. Depending on how friendly ramps are to commercial cultivation, they'll probably follow the same path. And so they should. It's fun for people to try new things! And even given the awful economic events of the past few years, we remain a rich economy where people have the luxury to get excited in silly things. And then, when the craze ends, the food remains, and there are a lot more recipes helping folks figure out how to use it. It's all good.

Photo credit: By Tony Smith

By Ezra Klein  |  April 20, 2010; 3:46 PM ET
Categories:  Food  
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Comments

I had some ramps last year from the co-op. They were OK, but not fabulous. With more experimentation, they have potential. I'm thinking of planting some in the woodsy part of the yard, to ensure my own supply. We had homegrown fiddleheads last weekend.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 20, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Huh. When I read the title, I thought this was going to be about the go-slow approach to climate change regulation.

Posted by: Mike_Russo | April 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I had dinner at Zola last week & their weekly specials featured rape. They had it ina salad & cooked with the main dishes. It was very good, except it stuck between my teeth.

Posted by: doctored | April 20, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

yes....it is good to pay homage to the ramps!
and all of the gifts and freshness of springtime.
and to take time to honor the lovely miracle~ things all around us that bring pleasure and beauty....and make life worth living!
a magnificent, rubythroated hummingbird, with luminous emerald feathers, with a nose like a sewing needle, weighing less than a dime:-) has made a nest right outside of my window, on a branch. its nest is no bigger than a walnut shell!
this is the second time that a hummingbird has made a nest right next to my window. what a rare gift and privilege, and so i would like to share it with others.
she worked so hard for the better part of a week, building her nest out of cobwebs and little grasses, and attached it to the underside of a leaf!

a hummingbird has two eggs.
sadly, one of her little eggs dropped out of the nest, and so she had only one left!
but good news! the little egg hatched four days ago, and already, i can see the new hummer moving in the nest, and lifting its little head when she feeds it!
she lets me come right next to the nest and watch.
her little eyes stares in the window all night.
i talk to her throughout the day....and i think it is a comfort for, her...being all alone, as her fragile nest shakes in the wind, and she stays awake on starless nights, or in the rain.
there is little in the world that is more magical and exquisite than a hummingbird in her nest, with her baby!
ramps, hummingbirds, wildflowers....
it is good in the midst of human concerns, never to lose our connections to the miracles all around us.
the gifts of springtime, of every season, and of life, itself.

Posted by: jkaren | April 20, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm arugula.

Posted by: willow8300 | April 20, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Mike Russo: I assumed that it would be an article about the Americans with Disabilities Act. But this is fun too.

Posted by: usergoogol | April 20, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

From the Time article, "The ramp is not a salad green, but it is a green vegetable, and it is the first legitimately green thing that appears from the ground in April, a month that, in terms of farm yield, is otherwise an extension of winter."

Apparently somebody has never been south of DC. We've been enjoying fresh collards, chard, lettuce, broccoli, and peas for weeks now.


Posted by: tl_houston | April 20, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm lucky enough to have ramps (aka wild leeks) growing in my back yard amongst the spring wildflowers, but I'm too much of a native plant lover to want to dig them up and eat them.

Posted by: Policywonk14 | April 20, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"People like tasting new things. Eventually, they've tasted them, and so they stop being a new thing and just become a thing. That's where arugula is now. Where once it was very rare, now it's pretty common. Depending on how friendly ramps are to commercial cultivation, they'll probably follow the same path. And so they should. It's fun for people to try new things!"

Then again there is the disgusting trendiness factor. You know, like SUVs, bottled water, raising Emu, and etc.

Folks read about "ramp" in the WP and become devotees. Meanwhile the price of "ramp" goes up. I salute all of the ramp producers who will cash in at the expense of the lemmings who lack the ability to determine for themselves what they like.

Posted by: ChrisBrown11 | April 20, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Ramps don't grow in my adopted German home, but we have ramsons (Bärlauch), which has a similar flavor. I do them up mountain-style by chopping up romaine, mixing it with sliced-up bärlauch leaves (the root's not to be eaten), and pouring a bacon grease-apple cider vinegar dressing over the top, which makes the leaves wilt all aromatically. Great with corn bread.

Posted by: agowen100 | April 21, 2010 3:42 AM | Report abuse

Ramps are lovely, especially fried up with eggs and potatoes for breakfast on a Saturday. I'm glad to see more folks are discovering them. However, I'm not sure they'll ever become widely cultivated, or if they even should. Ramps are gathered, not grown, in a fleeting spring season, one of the few wild foods left to us these days. Enjoy them now, they'll be gone soon.

Posted by: kperrystillerman | April 23, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

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