Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food


May 12, 2008

Culiblog author collects ramps in the Amsterdamse Bos,
Culiblog author caught plucking and nibbling in an abundant field of ramps in Amsterdam

I’m a bad to the bone, flower plucking, fruit stealing, mushroom picking, herb snatcher that simply cannot walk by food growing in the public space without tucking in and filling my basket. And I wish that more people were like me and that more public space was used to grow food. It changes the way you feel about a place when you can also find your food there.

Inspired by Saturday’s opening on the ramble, amble, saunter and stroll down at Marres in Maastricht, JB and I decided to test the notion on bike and headed out into the nearby nature with no particular plan in mind. Under the verdant canopy of the Amsterdamse Bos we encountered enormous patches of ramps, also known as wood leek, wild garlic, ail des bois and ail sauvage. The ramps were in bloom and I swear If I were a dog I would have rolled over on my back and done that doggy thing that dogs do in the grass.

Culiblog author caught foraging and eating ramps in the Amsterdamse Bos,
The leaves were tender and garlicky all right, and the flowers were dripping with nectar (!) a combination of green onion and fragrant honey aroma. I love it when the ramp leaves and flowers have different flavours. It was a demure forage-fest, but I’m going back for more today. Tomorrow when the composer comes home, I thought it would be fun to welcome him by dining on a picnic of locally stolen food.

Partner in crime, JB nibbles a ramp on a spongiform log,
Partner in crime, JB nibbles a ramp while perched on a spongiform log

Culiblog author caught foraging and eating ramps in the Amsterdamse Bos,

debra at 13:42 | | post to


  1. Way to go, gall! Romancing the ramps!

    Comment by Kristi — May 12, 2008 @ 15:13

  2. I was channeling Dora to keep myself from doing the doggy-thingy.

    Comment by Debra van Culiblog — May 12, 2008 @ 15:31

  3. This site is very interesting! But actually, I was led here in search for an old friend, Kathy Gaiser, from Oregon City. If she reads this, please respond!

    Chris Renhard

    Comment by Chris — May 12, 2008 @ 19:42

  4. Hi Christine,

    I sent Kath your email and you should be hearing from her shortly.



    Comment by debra — May 12, 2008 @ 20:09

  5. EVOO = extra virgin olive oil :)

    Comment by Nicoletta — May 14, 2008 @ 14:04

  6. Hi Deborah,

    whiel I completely envy your encounter with the ramps, isn’t the plant protected in the Netherlands? As in picking it is not allowed?

    If yes, I promise I won’t report you.

    PS: they are alos supposed to grow in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, but I have yet to find them there.

    Comment by Jke — May 14, 2008 @ 23:30

  7. Oh envy….cruel cruel mistress.

    I have some nettles here in Seattle…wanna trade for some ramps???

    Comment by Marissa — May 15, 2008 @ 7:56

  8. Hi Jke,

    I don\’t know if ramps are specifically protected, I do know that it is illegal to pick them and all food growing in the wild in the Netherlands. It\’s also illegal to collect mushrooms.

    A stupid policy, and I said I was bad to the bone. I also refuse to floss, pee in the bath, flush tampons down the loo, and ride my bike through red lights because I feel morally superior to people driving cars.

    I\’ve collected the seeds from the ramps I harvested in any case and maybe I can give some to Marissa in Seattle (also illegal) and spew some about the Vondel park. They grow in clumps - in \’t Bos, there\’s really no shortage, and I never buy the logic of, \’if you take one then everyone will want one\’ - it\’s just not true. 17 people in Amsterdam like ramps, and I happen to be one of them. There\’s enough for all of us.


    Comment by debra — May 15, 2008 @ 15:54

  9. Thanks for the link.

    It is great to see ramps being enjoyed all over the world!

    Comment by Chris James — May 16, 2008 @ 19:40

  10. Hi Deborah,

    ah,. so they’re not protected, it’s just a general rule about not picking stuff. I giess I broek the law when picking quinces in a park last fall.

    I think I shall continue to follow that other general Dutch rule. The one that says: rules only really apply when they actually seem to make sense in the situation at hand.

    I can now become a happy gatherer.

    Comment by Jke — May 21, 2008 @ 22:47

  11. ; )

    Comment by Debra van Culiblog — June 19, 2008 @ 23:20

  12. Mmmm… wild edibles!!!

    Comment by Jeff Pool — October 23, 2009 @ 23:56

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