Published: March 2006
Did You Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

High up in the woodlands of Appalachia grows a wild leek called a ramp. The emergence of the ramp in spring is celebrated at annual suppers and eagerly awaited festivals throughout the region and is just one example of the rich culture that exists in the mountains of Appalachia. This garlicky, oniony leek, Allium tricoccum, is both savory and sweet and is honored as the main ingredient in many Appalachian recipes such as in the traditional fried ramps with potatoes:

4 cups ramps, cleaned and sliced into 1-inch pieces
3 tbsp bacon drippings
3 to 4 medium potatoes, peeled, sliced
3 large eggs

Cook ramps in boiling water 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain. Heat bacon drippings in a large heavy skillet; add sliced ramps and potatoes. Fry until tender. Break the eggs over the ramps and potatoes and stir to mix well. Fry for about 2 minutes, or until eggs are cooked on bottom. Turn egg mixture over and fry on other side until cooked. Serve with corn bread and beans.

—Nora Gallagher