Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, March 1

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Ingredient Tue Mar 31 2009

Ramps Are Up!

Forager's DelightThe snowstorm last weekend put a bit of a damper on the sense of advancing spring, but on the floor of forest preserves around us, there are a few signs of spring. Sprouting from under all those brittle leaves of last year are ramps, a.k.a. wild leeks, after which Chicago was named.

Ramps have a wonderful garlicky flavor, and luckily for us insecure foragers, this garlicky smell works as a telltale sign that what you have just pulled out of the moist, thawing soil is what you think it is, not something else poisonous or inedible. Look for the beautiful aerodynamic shape of the green leaves, as well as the purple tint toward the bottom.

To prepare ramps, there's a whole array of possibilities, from a simple stir-fry to pasta to Chinese dumplings. If you need inspiration before heading out to the forest, though, try participating in the 2009 Annual RampFest, hosted by the Land Connection. On Friday, April 3, the Garfield Conservatory will be inundated with tasty ramp dishes created by chefs from Chicago's many a celebrated restaurnats (think Blackbird, Spacca Napoli, Prairie Grass Cafe, etc.) Reservations required at 847-570-0701.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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