Our neighbor, Gina, wanted to know if we would like some leeks. She had "too many," she said. Expecting the large supermarket variety from Costa Rica or some other exotic local, I nodded "sure." "Mmmmm," I said to the young woman as she opened the bag, "are you sure those are leeks?" "I think so," she replied, "at least that's what Crazy Fred our handyman told me. He finds them in our woods and cow pasture." Increasingly skeptical and not wanting to risk poisoning my bride, I told her I wasn't sure what they were and would "check them out." Googling" is the operative verb as to what happened next!
It seems in the Blue Ridge area and down the Appalachian chain leeks are known as "ramps." Memories of Euell Gibbons recommending the flavor of pine cones as well as Grape Nuts Flakes came flooding back. Further research revealed a few recipes and much praise of their "delicate and mild" onion flavor. Mmmmm. The cleaning process began early the next morning with visions of fantastic omelette's in mind.
Oh... they were so good. Now I can add them to the list of things to look for in the spring, like morels, that I can hardly ever find. Some time later, I asked Gina how she liked the leeks. She replied that she had "thrown them away." "You didn’t seem too sure about them," she added. Oh dear.