Sunday, January 30, 2011

Questions Not Yet Asked

q: What's the purpose of this new challenge?

a: The purpose of the first challenge was to experience culinary life as it was before there were markets. (Nearly) all the food was gathered by the participants straight from the plants they grow on.
The purpose of this second challenge is to emulate the experience of an early settler. There is some small amount of commerce available to fulfill food requirements but most food will be gathered as it was in the first challenge. Participants will have the additional hardship of having to survive the challenge through the winter months, a difficult time for early settlers. Stores run the risk of spoiling, rotting, or becoming infested, and there is little food available for collecting. This challenge will be a competition as well, to see who can best survive the winter.

q: Do we get to use a 'cheat' item?

a: No. You are free to spend your money on any goods you like, but there are no 'exemption' declarations.

q: Do we get salt, lime, or other food processing chemicals that come from the ground?

a: They are permitted so long as you purchase them using your funds. There are no exempt materials available. Of course if you go out to a salt lake and collect salt you get to use anything you gather.

q: What about 'freegan' collecting?

a: You can collect items 'freegan' style but these cost the equivalent of their retail price from your local store. This should be calculated by the minimum quantity available at the store (if the smallest jar of pepper costs $1, those pepper packets you picked up at a local food establishment cost you $1.)

q: Can we use coupons?

a: The cash value of coupons is applied towards your spending money - a 50¢ coupon takes 50¢ away from your fund pool. This is not an exercise in savvy shopping.

q: Can I buy in bulk?

a: Yes.

q: Can I trade my purchased items with other participants?

a Yes.

q: Can I buy from a wholesale club?

a: Yes, so long as you don't purchase a membership just to do so for the challenge. If you already have a membership or are going to piggyback on a friend's, it is permitted.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Starting From Scratch Challenge 2: The Longest Winter

Yes, I said just 5 months ago that I wouldn't do this challenge again. Stupid internet, remembering what I said all the time.

The agrarian life calls once again, and in response I have proposed a new challenge.

This challenge will be a competition - a culinary endurance match between the participants to see who can hold out the longest.

The challenge dates are January 2nd, 2012 to March 15th, 2012.

The goal of the challenge will be to see how long you can last on the foods you hunt, farm, fish, or forage for. And to the victor goes the spoils - a prize pack including a hand-made gift from every participant. Should multiple participants make it to the end of the challenge, the prizes will be divided amongst the winners.

Having had a good challenge season last year, participants of this challenge will have cash to spend on edibles at their local store. Each contributor from the last challenge will receive $10 per family member - less $1 per challenge day they cheated. (Spectators or those on the periphery of last year's challenge who want to join should leave a message to arrange a fair rate.) This money goes towards any store-bought edible goods. This includes salt, sugar, vinegar, spices, and any other supplies participants want to use in order to preserve food the cultivate over this current growing season. Seeds are not included in this budget, participants can spend what they like on seed. Purchased goods can be bartered with other participants (bulk buying and bartering is encouraged.)

There are no 'cheat' items in this challenge. Each participant is given a 1 meal 'party' exemption during the challenge, in which they can eat/drink whatever they'd like on 1 occasion.

Please add your questions for rules clarifications. Good luck to every one!

Oh - the picture is of soybeans collected for last year's challenge - 10/10 test subjects sprouted!