The Great Ramp Debate Ramps Up

Photo: Lisa Hubbard/Getty Images

Yesterday, Josh Ozersky admitted in his weekly column that he didnt know what ramps looked like until recently, and got David Kamp to back up his opinion (not exactly shared by chefs he interviewed) that the ingredient is becoming as overly fetishized as arugula (as todays video encounter with Robbie Richter and Zac Pelaccio goes to show, Mr. Cutlets is more one for meat). For food snobs, Kamp says, ramps are overcelebrated and overly scrutinized, like the first ballgame played in April, even with 161 more games ahead. And today, in a rant against small plates, ill-conceived pizzas, inappropriate tasting menus, and other annoying trends, Steve Cuozzo unleashes on ramps, too.

Most spring menus are cruel teases. The good stuff we really want, like local peas and asparagus, doesnt turn up for at least another month. So impatient chefs smother us in ramps, the garlicky, leek-like wild onions that come out of the ground in March. Theyre supposed to presage the glorious bounty to come. Instead, they remind us of winters bottomless pit of turnips and rutabaga. Id rather eat wild grass on the High Line.

So the Cuozz hates fancy pizzas and rampant ramp usage? One can only imagine how he feels about the tripe and ramp pizza at Colicchio & Sons. Either way, Cuozzo better brace himself as New Yorks most recent In Season column pointed out, its going to be a banner year for the stalks.

Oh, and rest assured they still have their defenders: The Voices Robert Sietsema recounts an all-ramp dinner he recently prepared.

As for us? We prefer calots.

On Ramps [NYM]
The Gripes of Wrath [NYP]
For Foodies, Ramps Are the New Arugula [Time]
Weekend Special: What Can You Do With Ramps? Here Are Four Suggestions [Fork in the Road/VV]