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Localvore Challenge Update: Exceptions and A Breakfast of Champions

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Sep 17, 2008 3:20PM


So I'm a week into the Green City Market Localvore Challenge and doing well. I've been able to find really good, in-season fruits and vegetables without spending a small fortune and the meats I stockpiled over the summer in the freezer are coming into good use. I've also been surprisingly creative with my daily menus. For example, yesterday I was hard-pressed for a breakfast idea and didn't want to resort to the standard bacon-and-eggs.

Looking in the fridge, I had some Polish rye that was getting stale. Took out a couple of slices, whisked two eggs and dipped the slices in the egg. I sliced a Michigan strawberry apple and lightly dusted those slices with ground cinnamon (spices are one of my exemptions) and made on-the-fly some French toast with sauteed apples. Instead of syrup, I topped this glorious mess with some honey from May's Honey Farm in Harvard.

There's much ado about the "exemptions" that participants are allowed. One of my issues with having exemptions to the challenge is that it can make cheating on the challenge very easy. It can be very simple to put "orange juice" on the list, if one desired.

Such was the case when I reviewed mine.

In addition to spices, I listed coffee, oils, sports drink and "booze." 'Course, I justified all of them. Morning coffee is a necessity; my bike ride to and from work in Evanston is a thirty mile round trip; I refuse to prepare unseasoned meals. Of the five, the last one sticks out like a sore thumb and the easiest way for me to backslide. It's a glaring loophole, like how the monks brewed beer so they could drink it as sustenance while fasting. My thought when listing it was "this is an eating challenge, not a stay in rehab."

Being conscious of what I eat has made me re-think even that. Knowing I was going to start the challenge, I tasted out this and next week's "Beer of the Week" selections before last Wednesday. Since then, my beer consumption has been limited to Capital Brewery's Island Wheat Ale, with wheat malt grown on Wisconsin's Washington Island. Bourbon — my mistress — has not even passed my lips.

I guess since North Shore Distillery is locally based, I could also drink their gins and vodkas. I'll wait until I hear from Sonja Kassebaum to give me the go-ahead. With the Hideout Block Party looming this weekend, I'm entering choppy waters.