Ramps! The King of Stink

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Ramps have become so popular that I not even going to try to keep up with the articles anymore!

A friend was once doing some wintertime hunting and found himself in need of some toilet paper. Looking around, he spotted the fresh green leaves of the early sprouting ramps. His advice is don't ever try this! He soon had to locate the nearest creek to cool off the affected area.

One of my Uncles told me that if you eat ramps on Friday, you have to sit on the other end of the pew on Sunday. At least that was where he made his friend sit when they were in college. Unfortunately, he could still smell him!

I'm sure most people that grew up in West Virginia have heard the story of Jim Comstock offending the postal service. He was the publisher of a newspaper called The West Virginia Hillbilly. One year, he decided to send out an issue out using ink laced with ramp juice. He got a reprimand from the Postmaster General!

All ramp lovers (and their families!) know how they stink up your breath and body. I had heard that eating peanut butter after ramps would help tone down the bad breath. I can't say that it worked. Then I heard that drinking tomato juice would help. It supposedly works on skunk spray after all. I think it helps a bit but it doesn't get rid of the bad breath completely. If anyone else has a suggestion or a story, let me know and I'll post it here.

The Spring 2009 issue of Goldenseal Magazine mentioned Kingofstink.com again. It's on page 4. A bit of free publicity never hurts! Previously there was a mention in the Spring and Winter 2006 issues.

The March 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Living has a recipe for Pickled Ramps. I think I might give this recipe a try this year.

What's A Ramp? is an interesting article about finding and digging ramps.

DIGGING DEEP FOR RAMPS tells about how much work is involved gathering enough ramps for a dinner.

Another author, John O'Brien mentions ramps dinners as one of the time honored rituals of his youth in his book At Home in the Heart of Appalachia.

You can read an interesting story by H.G. Rhawn about RIMFIRE, WEST VIRGINIA'S TYPICAL MOUNTAINEER.

A wealth of information is available at the American Folklife Center's Tending the Commons.

Gathering your own ramps can involve an inspiring hike as described in A FIELD TRIP TO DIG THE EASTERN RAMP.

Other Articles

Ramps... Not for the Faint-Hearted!
Allium burdickii in the southern Appalachians: Does it exist and how rare is it?
National Geographic News
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Akron Beacon Journal
New York Times reprint
Herb Companion reprint
Ramps or Wild Leeks has a lot of info on ramps and a few recipes
Ramps: An Introduction discusses the issue of sustainability.

© 1997 & 2009 Anita Toth Simpson
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