Topic: "Sweet Georgia Brown"
Delbert Bland, the State of Georgia's largest grower of Sweet Vidalia Onions, commenced shipping on April 28th. Mr. Bland reported that he shipped 100,000 50-pound bags--100 truck loads--on the first day of the 2005 season. For Onion afficionados, like Frodo, the season delayed by cool spring temperatures has heightened the culinary imagination. Cookbooks receive much more than passing interest this time of year in the Shire.
For the uninitiated, the simple fact of what a Vidalia happens to be is explained by a brief lesson in geography. Life in the coastal counties of Georgia requires every homeowner to have a water filtration pump which removes sulfur from drinking water. The sulfur content of the water is so high that it smells like rotten eggs. Now, go inland 75 or so miles and the earth in the counties where Vidalias grow is virtually devoid of sulfur. The absence of sulfur is what gives the Onion its' sweet taste. The sulfur, of course, is leached from the soil and washes downstream in the water. The "shelf life" of the Vidalia is retained by the household consumer carefully wrapping each onion into a knotted section of an old pair of pantyhose. No salad should be served absent a Vidalia.
Martha Stewart, an alumni of "Camp Cupcake," is a fan of ramps. Ramps, or leeks as they are known by New Jerseyites and other Visigoths, are recommended by the "Ankle Bracelet Queen" in many of her recipes to brighten up the otherwise tasteless fare served in parts of Mordor. Ramps will put hair on your chest, or the soles of your feet, and mosquitoes will not enter into your sphere of influence. It is said that Eric Rudolph, the "Olympic Park Bomber," lived off of ramps as a major part of his diet in the five years he remained as a fugitive.
Ramps, again for the uninitiated, grow wild in the mountains of the Southern Appalachians. Many rural communities hold "Ramp Festivals" in the Springtime. It should be noted that these festivals are generally attended only by those equipped with appropriate hazard attire.
Ramps have become cult items. So much so, in fact, that the National Park Service is issuing guidelines to restrict the harvest of the native grown plant. This, Frodo assumes, can all be laid at the feet of the publicity awarded the ramp by readers of the "Dungeon Diva."
Frodo is very pleased that so much attention is given to ramps. Frodo hopes that equal thought is given to brussel sprouts, cranberries, cooked carrots, and haggis. Vidalias are for the good guys.