It is important to know where your food comes from and your own individual place on “the food chain.” Some of us choose to eat meat. Some of us choose to not eat meat. I have a friend who will eat chicken, turkey, and fish, but she refuses to eat of any animal that suckles its young.
I remember being a kid (the people kind, not the goat kind!!) on my uncle’s farm, helping to feed the Nancy the pig, and then later helping to eat Nancy the pig. Yes, my uncle made sure we knew what we were eating. I considered it a good education.
We’ve never tried to hide food reality from the boys. When the oldest ones were little, they wanted to know what they were eating: “What’s this?” “Pork.” “What animal does it come from?” “It’s pig meat.” “Oh. OINK!!” …and then they’d giggle and continue eating.
Our nurse practictioner was vegetarian and he was so sure that if kids knew that their hamburgers came from cows that said “MOO,” they’d never eat hamburgers! My oldest kids proved him wrong.
This is not true for all 4 of our boys. The SnakeMaster actually turns green when meat is discussed like that. And I’ve told him that if he is willing to eat a healthy vegetarian diet, I am willing to serve it to him. He is not quite to that point yet (too picky about beans and such) and he needs his protein.
H-J would prefer it if all foods could taste like candy (but not the cinnamon flavored kind). He likes chocolate, and simple homemade nachos (chips and cheese, melted together in the microwave for 22 seconds), and milk, and watermelon & green grapes. On more than one occasion, I have found spinach leaves in the washing machine and dryer; his chosen method for sneaky avoidance of that healthy food seems to be to pocket the evidence.
My own Music Man is a true meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. He is very happy to see meatloaf with gravy and mashed potatoes on the table, and he has been known to over-consume the spuds simply because we tell him that he served himself more than he could possibly eat. Teenagers love to prove their parents wrong.
Encyclopedia Blue has always been a foodie, for better or for worse. He is also the healthiest eater (by his own choice) of the 4 boys.
We have several favorite family stories concerning E.B. and food: the time he ate pickled asparagus, said “This almost tastes yucky!” and then helped himself to more… and how, as a baby, he demanded that his food be shoveled into his mouth as quickly as possible. He would cry if it wasn’t spooned in fast enough, but if you satisfied his need for speed, he would end up choking and crying as he spit it all out. Then he would cry again because his mouth was empty.
It’s a good thing he loved to eat, because as we struggled through food allergy discoveries, so many foods gave him an upset stomach (or worse). When E.B. was very young (up through the age of 4), he was allergic to dairy AND soy proteins…along with other things. As he was a nursing baby, I also had to give up quite a few foods during the first year and a half of his life. It was a challenging time for both of us. He did outgrow those food allergies –a tremendous blessing for us all!– and today he is my most adventurous eater.
A few years ago, a friend of mine was living in China. She sent us a Christmas package containing a lovely scarf for me and a jar of smoked scorpions for the boys. Apparently, these are quite the delicacy and we were lucky to have those dried bugs. They smelled awful. Stank. Reeked.