Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hop on Board the Locavore Train!

Probably one of the best things about doing a project like this is that people around you start to get into it.

My sister has been almost more obsessive about it than me. She likes to invite me over for dinner and have her husband cook beautiful meals full of local fare. (Just kidding, she actually cooked the meal of local brats, green beans with tomatoes, bread and a corn flan that I brough along last night.)

My family has a running joke that my dad started where we price different meals based on what we might pay for it in a restaurant (it must be a left-over habit from the days when my parents were restaurateurs and, I know, not very funny to the outsider). Now in addition to naming the price, my sister seems to enjoy calculating what percentage of the meal arrived at our plates from a local farm.

This Saturday, my brother-in-law, Mike, cooked up a juicy beer butt chicken. (I think it must be a midwest thing 'cause I never heard of it before I moved back here. Basically you cook a whole chicken on the grill sitting upright on top of a beer can that's been stuck inside its cavity. It is delicious and moist.) The beer can chicken was the centerpiece of a local meal including green beans and bread and a salad (my sister snuck in some grilled California figs, which I happily gobbled up) and orzo. I was afraid to ask if the orzo was local. Their next door neighbor even brought over a six pack of Summit beer. I came with some treats from the Salty Tart at the Midtown Global Market.

More recently, my mother in law brought me some local cheese after a trip to the Lake Pepin area for me to enjoy with my local beets from the farmers market.

My mom tries to thwart my local eating by sending me undeniable treats like this banana bread. She included a note saying she knew it wasn't local, but that maybe Eric would like it. Did she actually think that a NOTE, a tiny piece of paper with a few words scribbled on them would stand between me and this?

I think not. I include my mother's baking in the whole "don't let this experiment stand in the way of socializing or cultural experiences" clause.

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