Friday, September 22, 2006

My Son the Budding Vegetarian

William has eaten his share of chicken tenders with "fry-fries", his standard meal at any restaurant that has them on the kids' menu, and most do. In fact, he had them today at an Irish restaurant, though the breading was thick and crunchy enough to disguise that it was meat at all.

Lately, he's been analyzing and questioning the source of his food. Perhaps he's heard that spinach can kill? No, he's been asking about meat. Recently, he turned down steak, nicely grilled and seasoned, after we told him in response to his inquiry, that the meat came from a cow. I don't go into detail with the kids when young, but neither do I lie. Someone killed the cow and now, we are going to eat it. Except for William. He refused to eat the cow.

That brings us to this evening. I made fried chicken for dinner. William is eating shredded cheese. He won't eat the chicken after I answered his questions:

Me: It didn't come from one of our chickens. It was a chicken raised for meat.
W: It didn't have a head or feet?
Me: (internal laugh) No, it no longer has a head or feet.
W: Someone cut it's head off?
(I am smelling the wonderful smell of fried chicken and not enjoying thinking about this.)
Me: Yes, someone did.
W: How'd they get all the blood out?
Me: It comes out when they cut off it's head.
W: I'm not eating it.
Me: I'm not asking you to, but it's what you had for lunch.
W: No, that was a different type of chicken. Not real chicken.

As we sat eating our meal, he reached over for one piece. "Welllllllllllll......I guess I'll try one piece." He actually tried two small bites, but his face frowned in ethical objection. He spit it out in a gross gesture to the floor where the dogs waited in eager anticipation of pre-chewed food. Wm ate no more chicken.

Having hand-raised chickens and sat with them eye-to-eye, laughed at them and called them by name, Wm is giving up chicken he says. Will it last? Or is it just MY chicken?

My girls, having had their carnivorous habits firmly established before we had any chickens, have considered the option of vegetarianism, having several friends who are, for various reasons. But both say that though they'd like to be in a way, they like meat too much to give it up. They can, and did recently, devour a whole 2 pounds made into beef jerky in one day.

Wm will still eat meat that he's not recognized yet as having come from an animal. For example, he ate Polish kielbasa yesterday and loved it. Speaking of chickens, it's dark, and I must go shut their cages before something does eat them.

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