Lax Locavore Lately

May 5, 2010 at 9:11 am

Rob Gardner

I once wrote a whole Chowhound post (back when people wrote whole Chowhound posts) lamenting the lack of local deli’s, filled nearly entirely with ‘L’ alliterations.  I’ll forsake that device here beyond saying my I’ve been a lax locavore lately.  Some of it’s not my fault; I started birthday burgers for my daughter with local meat (avoiding telling her one packet was venison), but had to swap out to not so local from my corner store to get a suitable dinner after frying up a smelly batch.  And it’s not like I’ve given up.  I find Michigan apples at Jewel to eat now instead of California strawberries this time of year.  Still, I’ve seen to have spent an inordinate amount of time lately in those conventional supermarkets, and something seems to be rubbing off on me.

Last semester, my older daughter took psychology in high school.  The class seemed more about organizing a boycott over bottled water and less the syndrome I needed her to describe now.  See, I believe there is something scientific to the seven year itch.  I am sure of it.  It has a name.  We really do get bored with stuff at about seven years.  We are roughly at seven years in our eat local ways, and with my AAD tendencies, starting early on the itch makes perfect sense.  Growing weary is in our nature.

Surely none of the reasons to eat local wear thin on me.  If anything, the reasons to eat local motivate me more.  As I noted a few weeks ago, we have resisted the opportunities to save dollars here and there on conventional milk and eggs even as we decided to get by without the CSA.  One of my kids suggested that any ennui would vanish as soon as we dug into fresh farmer’s market fare.  Of course she is right, as I know how much more delicious local food is.  I remain an advocate for local foods.  I support our community.  I support farmers.

It’s the work.  It’s the schlep.  What can we eat now, local.  We have plenty of sunchokes.  We have a bit of celery root.  Beets remain.  Yet, when it is 5 PM and I am picking my wife up from her new job, I am not thinking of coming home to peel the Jerusalem artichokes.  The Monday fried chicken special at Jewel temps too much.  Then, I walk those aisles.  It’s like a casino right.  They make it that way.  Temptation is a science to these people.  As I am revolted by packaged croutons and salad dressings–I cannot remember the last time we purchased a bottle of dressing–I am put right at home, at ease.  Is it simply memories of childhood comfort, riding the rails, an open box of animal crackers in hand, that works on my psyche? 

I battle.  I agreed to see a movie last Saturday in Logan Square, like I really needed the depressing Greenberg in my state, to be close to the Dill Pickle Coop.  I expected some Spring produce but found pretty much none.  I should have dropped an order with Irv and Shelly.  I also have a decent supply of ramps from Whole Foods in the Bungalow, free as the cashier that night lost her patience trying to find the sku for my harbingers, but have only used a few stalks so far.  On the other hand, to go with taco night, I open a can of La Preferada beans.  Argh.  $3+ for the frioles refrito when we have tons of beans in the basement that cost less than 2 bits a pound.  Yet, temptation, supermarket temptation.  Open can.  And the ingredients in the “authentic” version would be at home in a Haagen Dazs container; three: beans, salt, lard.  Tasted good too.  Do you know my wife had to talk me down from buying a packet of McCormick’s taco spice mix.  So, I opened a can of beans but crushed my own cumin and coriander seeds.  I forgot to grill the ramps though.

Come on guys.  Motivate me.  Inspire me.  Support me.  The itch can pass.  I may be a lax locavore lately, but I do not want to be a lacking locavore,  In fact, keep me from a lamenting local eating alliteration liking post. 



  1. chad nichols says:

    Hey Rob – Eli’s let us have a market Friday for Mothers Day and its been an exceptional early season with many things coming up that just weren’t available this time last year. Come by for some inspiration and don’t forget the flowers for mom!
    Chad Nichols
    Nichols Farm & Orchard

  2. Xan says:

    Hang in there. It’s not like alcohol; you can backslide once in a while. We lead packed, stressful lives. If you need a Jewel chicken every now and then, the world will not end. Look at it this way: with local manufacturing, and its jobs, all but gone now, the local major stores are where the jobs are (think about the south side Wal Mart controversy– now there’s a blog post. What would bringing local farming into the south side do for the economy? Someone study and write about that!). While a local economy would be more robust, and provide more jobs, for now, your shopping at Jewel once in a while is supporting someone’s job. And if it’s saving your sanity and giving you a renewed commitment (over the guilt if nothing else), then it’s done the job.

    I’m still working my way towards your “backsliding.” For what it’s worth, your journey has been inspiring mine. Laugh a little, look for local, let it loose. You’re fine.

  3. David Hammond says:

    Tempted by McCormick Taco Spice Seasoning mix? Jeez, you’re in trouble.

    I know you appreciate a bargain, so come by my house in about two weeks and I’ll have all kinds of leafy things for you (kale, lettuce, rapini), and you can take home what you want, no charge.

  4. RST says:

    Market season is around the corner. Race you to the markets, Rob?

  5. Robin Schirmer says:

    Market season is here! Lots of markets rolling out in May…..I’ll itemize them in a Market Watch soon. Watch for it in the Blog column.

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