To Meat or Not to Meat

I’m a vegetarian by marriage.  I grew up in rural Missouri. You don’t find a lot of vegetarians in the Midwest. I was raised with a chicken coop in the backyard and they weren’t our pets. Neither was the hog. My partner was raised a vegetarian. We wrestled with how we wanted to feed our own kids and decided that we’d go with the route that we felt did the least harm, so Sissy and Piper became vegetarians, too. At least until they are old enough to decide for themselves.

Sissy is actually the most militant vegetarian among us. She sneers at meat; she looks with disdain at hamburgers. Our struggle with Sissy has been to get her to be tolerant of meat eaters. We chose. They get to, also. With Piper, our challenge is to remind her that we are, in fact, vegetarians. She’ll eat anything put in front of her, especially if it’s fried. She doesn’t care what’s under the breading.

The “pretend” meat revolution confuses a Piper even more. “Is that ‘fake’ taco meat or ‘real’?” Piper asks, assessing what looks like seasoned hamburger waiting to be stuffed into her corn shell. She’s right. Veggie hot dogs are called “Smart Dogs.” Soy burger is called “Crumbles.” Fake sausage is called “Gimme Lean.” The marketers spend a lot of time trying to make vegetarians comfortable. Bait and switch doesn’t do it for me. If I wanted to eat bacon, I’d eat bacon. I don’t want “Fakin’ Bacon.” I assume the naming of vegetarian products is for “transitioning” vegetarians or “occasional” eaters. Sissy and Piper have been raised on tofu, tempeh, seitan, beans, and nuts. These are their norm and they’re perfectly comfortable with these choices until another kid looks into their lunch box and says “What is THAT?” Hmm. Perhaps Sissy’s judgement is a defense mechanism.

Piper cares greatly, though. The vegetarian choice seems a mystery to her. At lunch with a cousin the other day, Piper led an inquisition.

“So, is that a ‘real’ hot dog or a ‘fake’ one?” Piper asked.

“It’s turkey,” Cousin Jillian said, taking a bite. “It’s real.”

“Mom, is mine real?”

“Yours is a veggie dog, P. It’s not real. We’re vegetarian, remember?”

Piper looked from her plate to Cousin Jillian’s again. “So,” she said. “Do you eat real dogs, too? Like the kind that bark?”

7 thoughts on “To Meat or Not to Meat

  1. Nice post. One might correlate that lifestyle with being healthy but processed food still remain an issue and the bit about tofu actually reminded me of something about it being not as healthy because of how it’s made, at least nowadays.

    • It’s true. One day we think we’re making the healthiest choices only to realize the next that we aren’t. We try to eat everything in the naturalist state we can. We aren’t perfect, though. We avoid as much processed food as possible, but I try to do everything in moderation. For me the key is to make a conscious choice whenever I can and to raise our kids to enjoy food.

  2. OMJ (Oh My Juice) came up with my self.Hey anut missy I can’t believe I’m actually in one of the blogs eeeekkkkk. I get excited easily .

  3. sounds to me like it’s not going to be far off before Miss 5 decides she is old enough to at least try for herself!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s