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Me at Honey1 BBQ.[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

That's right. I am vowing right here, right now, that just because we have been going on marathon eating expeditions as part of our mad dash to finish the Serious Eats book, I am not going to accept Serious Diet defeat. Not now. Not ever.

That's not to say it's going to be easy not to temporarily throw in the diet towel. Because we have been doing some serious eating for this book, in addition to the serious eating we normally do at SE world headquarters. We told you about our not-so-little New Orleans po' boy adventure a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have eaten my way through Portland, Maine (duck fat fries with duck fat gravy, anyone?), with a couple of side trips for lobster rolls to Kennebunkport and Wiscasset for good measure.

But all of these trips were amuses compared to our Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison adventures last weekend.

Three days of Chicago eating with Carey, Robyn, and Chicago-based contributors and FoSE (Friends of SE) Nick Kindelsberger and Daniel Zemans (thank you, gentleman, for your curatorial, driving, and navigational skills) featured an insane amount of seriously delicious food: barbecue from Honey 1, Uncle John's, and Lem's; hot dogs topped with wonderfully salty, golden brown french fries from Gene and Jude's and Red Hot Ranch; an all-pie breakfast at Hoosier Mama's that was one of the peak food experiences of my life; and transcendentally delicious sandwiches at Rick Bayless' Xoco. There was more, lots more, but you get the picture.

Madison, Wisconsin, offered a bit of a respite, as our time there was mostly spent wandering around the wondrous farmers' market that wraps around the state capital building. We did find the time to have a few extraordinary baked goods, as well as a book-worthy politically correct, grass-fed but still juicy burger served with killer fries at Graze, L'Etoile's newly opened, more casual cousin.

Milwaukee featured Milwaukee's finest: butter burgers, three custard stands (Kopp's, Leon's, NorthPoint), a terrific corned beef sandwich at Jake's, and great, idiosyncratic pizza at the wacky but wonderful Maria's.

But I tried to eat responsibly and oh so reasonably everywhere, so that's why I say I'm not giving in to the "we've gotta finish the book, so I am going to allow myself to go completely off the diet reservation" mentality that I could so easily slip into.

The Weigh-In

Interim weigh-ins haven't been disastrous, but I did have a review meal on Thursday that did me no favors, diet-wise. All right, here we go. 223. Up two pounds. Damn you, Serious Eats book. You will not defeat me. You won't. You'll see. And Thinner, I will see you next week.

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