Sweet Pea Chef

A foodie mommy shares tips, tricks and stories from her kitchen as she seeks out more healthful and interesting meals.



beck's picture beck

Hmm! Interesting.
We live in a meat-farming and hunting INTENSIVE town. If there's one thing my kids know, it is where meat comes from - the same pigs that they threw apples to and scratched with sticks all summer became the pork chops on their plate. They've seen deer hung up in neighbours yards, they've caught fish and helped their father clean them, and we never eat the prefabricated meat stuffs.

One thing I do believe pretty intensely is that the Bambification of animals has very little to do with reality. While we treat animals with kindness and compassion, we are quick to point out that Charlotte's Web is a work of fiction and that pigs do not spend the summer fearing the autumn. And because they've actually spent a lot of time around animals, they know that they are not talking child-substitutes and that children's books are just fiction.

Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

We eat meat at our house, but we call chicken chicken and they know beef is cows. Fish come from the sea, and so on. My B has asked before why we eat animals. I've talked a little about the food chain and also talked to her about how some people make the choice not to eat meat. She has learned the word vegetarian just like nocturnal, reptile, or amphibian. It's vocabulary at this point. If she made that choice at some point I would absolutely support it. I can see it both ways, absolutely. And feel strongly also that kids need to be educated about where their food comes from and why we eat what we do. :-)

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

I totally agree, Omaha (and beck, too). I think my problem (I almost wrote 'beef'--ha!) is mainly with the industry, and with how advertising tries to encourage parents to foster this disconnect between the food they buy, and the animals it came from.

mouse's picture mouse

With all our food issues with Scooter, I'll admit we look for some gimmicks. Dr Praeger's now makes different types of veggie patties in shapes--potato, sweet potato, broccoli, and spinach, if I'm remembering correctly. Since he dislikes all gluten-free chicken nuggets, we've been trying these, with mixed success.

After this pregnancy (and even a little bit now), I'm going to work on decreasing the amount of meat in our diet. I was a vegetarian for over 10 years, for very much the reasons you mention, but pregnancy derailed that for me in a big way. Being gluten-free makes it harder to use vegetarian supplements, though I think I saw Boca or another company making a gf "burger," so maybe it'll be easier by the time I'm past full-time breastfeeding.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Oh, I don't think anyone should feel pressured to adopt a vegetarian diet--I think there are plenty of ways to have a healthy, environmentally-conscious diet and still include meat.

And as far as gimmicks? I'll confess here: you know, we worry so much about L.'s limited diet and his incredibly rigid eating patterns (being a parent of a child with an eating disorder is scary and awful) that I do think my heart would do a happy dance if I saw him eating a piece of chicken.

There, I said it.

Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

Do you think L would eat meat? Maybe that's the missing link for him, maybe he's a natural carnivore! The students I've taught here who are on the spectrum love (and by love, I mean eat every day) chicken nuggets and chicken patties. Not ideal...but preferable to not eating!

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Nope--I've tried it, believe it or not! Last winter we went through a really bad patch, and L. was sick, too, and lost weight. On a desperate impulse I bought a prepared container of chicken noodle soup (he likes broth) from Trader Joe's, squeezed a bunch of lemon into it, and placed it in front of him. He said is "smelled funny".