requiring records in the DB before testing

Is there any way I can require a small set of data be in the test
database before any tests are run? (unit, functional, integration,
cucumber, etc)
Any way besides using fixtures, that is.
Overload a rake task?
Modify test_helper?
Any ideas?
(Simple Case: I have to have a minimal set of user roles defined
before any users can be created)

Look at rake db:seed as one alternative.

I use fixture replacements such as Fixjour or machinist. So,

1.upto(10) do
  Model.make # Machinist

That sort of thing. It's good to put in a setup step.

Steve Ross wrote:

   Chek this

   and its RDoc at