Posts Tagged ‘meat’
A few months ago, I posted about a dilemma I was having about whether or not I should allow my children to eat meat. (I can’t find the link – bear with me.)
I have not eaten meat for about 20 years, having weaned myself slowly off the stuff during my teenage years.
I gave up fish for many years, too, but cravings during pregnancy (and sheer boredom with a purely vegetarian
diet) meant that I now eat fish.
1. I know I am NOT a vegetarian, although I do sometimes say I’m a veggie because I have received too many blank stares when I say “pescetarian”.
2. I know the only reason I gave up meat was because of welfare issues. It had nothing to do with the fact that I don’t think we should slaughter animals for food.
3. I have gone too far down the line now to even contemplate eating meat that is organic, free-range etc.
4. I NEVER preach to meat eaters that they shouldn’t eat flesh (although I do tend to reach for the soapbox when my husband goads me by attempting to choose fois gras or veal at a restaurant).
When I had my first child ten years ago, I insisted that she be brought up on a predominantly vegetarian diet. I believed it to be healthy and thought it would introduce her palate to a number of different tastes.
Obviously the same principle applied when I had my son two and a half years later.
But, I always said that they would be allowed to eat meat when they were old enough to understand where meat came from and the processes that occurred in the production of meat. The link between the cute animal in the field and the slab of meat on the plate had to be made.
This year, that watershed moment came: I was to be tested. Would I be a woman of my word?
The children insisted that they wanted to eat meat.
I admit I faltered, but had to be true to my word.
I decided that at least I could offer good quality – organic – meat once in a while. I don’t cook it; I leave that to my all-too-willing-to-eat-meat partner.
Bacon – huge thumbs up from one (the other prefers Quorn)
Steak – the bloodier the better (and, yes, it breaks my heart…)
Lamb – one isn’t keen; the other likes it.
Beef – medium rare and the first thing to be eaten.
Saausages – one can’t tell the difference between organic meat sausages and Quorn (which makes me weep for his palate); the other loves them.
Poultry and game – bring it on.
I’m still restricting their meat intake to about once a week because I honestly think that is sufficient. The rest of the week is mainly based on pasta, pulses and rice.
But now meat isn’t considered a forbidden food, it is losing its appeal slightly. It’s no fun for the children to goad me about meat anymore as it now water off a (living) duck’s back.
Equally, I no longer have nightmares of them lusting over a McDonald’s cheeseburger.
It took me months to get round to letting them eat it – but they have made up their minds.
As far as I can see, there’s no turning back now. It’s just little old me who eschews meat in the house.
Sometimes, the things you once said come back to bite you.
It might have been utttered because you believed the “promise” you made on a particular subject would never materialise. Or it might have been said rashly to gloss over the problem, so it could be filed under “things to tackle in the distant future” category of your brain.
I find myself in a situation where something I said nine years ago – and repeated seven years ago – has come back to haunt me. It’s my fault and it has put me right in the middle of an ethical dilemma.
The problem is this: I don’t eat meat. My partner does, but we eat vegetarian meals at home. He is happy with this arrangement – but takes the opportunity when he can to eat meat. I am fine with that, too.
When we had children, he agreed that we could bring them up on a meat-free diet.
It has slipped slightly as I – and the family – now eat fish (strictly speaking this makes me a pescetarian, but it sounds like a cop out and slightly ludicrous).
So, what was the promise I made? It was this:
If, when the children are old enough to understand how/why animals are killed for meat and they are happy with that they can eat it.
The trouble is, I imagined them to be happy non-meat eaters, skipping in a rose-tinted world of Quorn and vegetarian meals.
Over the past few months, though, they have decided they want to eat meat. They’ve seen programmes about animal husbandry and how the creatures are slaughtered for the plate; they have simultaneously said “how cruel” and “I want to eat meat” when discussions have taken place about farming practices; they claim they understand what it is all about.
Now I want to backtrack; I want to go back on what I have said before. I did muse about compromising and allowing them to eat only organic meat, but even that upsets me.
There are a myriad problems with my attitude – and I understand that I might be appearing selfish, childish and too controlling. I appreciate that I am setting a bad example by doing a u-turn on this issue.
If I keep resisting their urge to eat meat (although they did eat some at Christmas), they’ll probably run to McDonalds (another bugbear of mine) and trough down a Big Mac as soon as they are old enough to go on their own.
If I allow them the occasional meaty meal, then the “forbidden fruit” aspect of it could dissipate and they might – just might – decide that they don’t want to eat it anyway.
I’m not one for banging on about animal cruelty. It was my choice not to eat meat. The reasons were personal and I don’t tut or berate anyone for choosing to eat pork, beef, chicken etc.
The fact that I eat fish probably negates all my arguments about a meat-free diet.
No one is asking me to forego my beliefs and eat animal flesh; the whole family knows that 99 per cent of the time the meals on the table will not contain meat.
But, why can’t I let this one go? I’m wracking my brains and know I’ll probably have to make a decision soon – before it is taken out of my hands.