Harlan County Ridge Runner Dallas Gilbert swears by it. And he should know - he's been eating ramps since he was a kid.
"But it has to be a stainless steel spoon," Gilbert said. "I promise, if you stick one in your mouth after you take a big old bite, it takes that strong taste right away."
Even though the peculiarly potent root is gathered by few (and eaten by fewer), it's become a well-known Appalachian delicatessen. Members of the Harlan County Ridge Runners ATV Club have cooked up several kettle-fulls of ramps since the Black Mountain Off Road Adventure Park started bringing tourists by the thousands to the city of Evarts. It's been part of the club's, as well as the city's, mountain hospitality.
"One of the dishes we've cooked here at the community camp fire has been ramps," said Ridge Runner president Preston McLain. People off from here started liking them and looking forward to trying them, so that's how it kind of grew into this festival."
The first-ever "Ramp Festival" in the city of Evarts took place Saturday night at the community camp fire, which featured popular mountain dishes of all sorts. Stir-fried ramps was just one of the dishes that was quickly ate up by famished ATVers who had been riding in the park all day.
There was also grilled chicken, hickory chickens (wild mushrooms), friend potatoes, soup beans and plenty of cornbread.
"Good eating and fellowship - that's what it's all about," said Carl Hardesty of Beavertown, who's Saturday visit to the off-road park and the Evarts community campfire was his sixth trip. "The first time, I came to ride. Now, it's about the visiting, the setting back and relaxing around the camp fire, and....oh, yea, about the eating."
Hardesty urged locals to not take for granted "the prize" that was in their back door with the community camp fire.
Bud Copeland spent 81 days in Evarts last year because of the fellowship that's found at the camp fire.
"I like to ride, but I like the people more," Copeland said. "I've been here for five days, now, and I've only ridden my ATV a fourth of a mile. There's too much fun to be had at the fire pit."