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A Fine Mess of Ramps: Tradition and Community Thrive at West Virginia's Ramp Dinners

My dad turned 88 this spring, he's lived in West Virginia his entire life and he's always enjoyed ramps every spring. It has nothing to do with hipsters I can tell you.

When I was young, he would get a mess and bring them home and my mom would make him fry them up with his potatoes out on our propane grill. She claimed that she could smell ramps days later in his sweat.

It used to be an Appalachian thing -- like paw-paws or morels (which my dad calls molly moochers) -- but good food is good food I guess.

Win a Copy of 'Heritage'

I like West Virginia cornbread. Not sweet at all and cooked in an iron skillet with lots of bacon grease.

Win a Copy of 'Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food'

Fried egg on top of spaghetti dressed with olive oil and parmesan.

Dining suggestion in or near The Loop?

Good assumptions... I'll see if i can't weasel my way in at the Girl & the Goat. Many thanks!

Cook the Book: 'The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen'

Sean Brock's Husk in Charleston, S.C. was great, but the taste-memory that I keep returning to is a trip to The Wreck in Mt. Pleasant. Ultra-fresh, deep-fried seafood in a great setting right on the water.

Cook the Book: 'Pati's Mexican Table'

El Taco de Mexico in Denver. The chile relleno with green chile sauce.

Cook the Book: 'Every Grain of Rice'

I would like to know how to make Peking duck.

Bake the Book: The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen

Charleston, of course. My wife and I got married there.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Case of Pat LaFrieda Burgers

I would love to the the Mission Street burger, but I don't even know if it still exists... If not, probably Shake Shack!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Camp Bacon Gift Box

I love a good bacon sandwich. Lots of bacon, good bread and a little Miracle Whip, because that's what my mom always used when I was growing up.

AHT Giveaway: Case of Pat LaFrieda Burgers

Have a Pat LaFrieda burger party, of course! Complete with a toppings bar.

Memorial Day Grilling Giveaway: Win This Delicious Cap of Ribeye

Love the ribeye, love burgers, chicken, pork chops...

All good stuff!

AHT Giveaway: Case of Pat LaFrieda Burgers

How come nobody ever talks about the season when it comes to great burgers?

I know there are a lot of ingredients and techniques out there, but for me, the best burger of the season is definitely the first burger of the year. You've come through a crappy winter, your grill hasn't been fired up in months, you have that first awesome day and you want to grill out.

Nothing better than a great burger with all of the fixin's. It's juicy and cheesy and there's some crunch from onion or lettuce. Mustard gives it a little zing and mayo adds to the experience. A grilled bun is a must.

But it's the time of year and the fact that you've been hankering for a burger for a while that makes it great.

Cook the Book: 'Canal House Cooking Volume No. 6'

As naive as this sounds, it was when I first left my West Virginia home where I had grown up and moved to Charlotte.

The Harris Teeter there had things that I'd been reading about for years -- and take for granted now.

We simply did not have grocery stores with that many specialty items! It was a real treat.

Cook the Book: 'Salad as a Meal'

Rick Bayless has this steak and potato salad with blue cheese in Mexican Everyday that's really, really tasty.

Cook the Book: 'The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat'

It means that the farmer or rancher treats the animal with respect and dignity up until the point he or she slaughters the animal. It means that no or as little as possible of the animal is wasted, because the farmer/rancher/cook recognizes that the animal gave its life. It means that the eater is thankful for the animal and the efforts of the farmer/rancher/cook to bring the meal to the table.

Cook the Book: 'Latin Grilling'

We just hit a taco truck for lunch and I had meat from a pig's head. Really, really tasty!


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