Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

Glad to meat you

with 4 comments

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.)

Traditional Sunday lunch by adactio (http://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/10098413/)



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.


The result?

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.


Written by CommonPeople

November 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Jayne's posts

Tagged with , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Interesting. My daughter did as you did, slowly went off meat growing up. She started by surreptitiously feeding it to the cat. (We did wonder why it was getting so fat!) We accommodated her diet, and like you she didn’t mind others eating meat around her, and she now has a partner who is Australian and believes that a balanced meal means meat and two other kinds of meat!

    I certainly think you are doing the right thing. If you were a meat eater, would you forbid your child to eat a vegetarian diet? I think it also works in reverse, although of course parents have the primary responsibility for ensuring their children have a healthy diet. And you are lucky that you have someone in your household who is willing to cook the meat. I’m sure if that wasn’t the case, it would be much harder.

    Harry Albright

    November 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  2. Thanks for your comment, Harry.
    It did work in reverse for me. I gave up meat in an omnivore household and now appreciate the extra work it meant for my mother.

    However, there was never any pressure on me to eat meat (thankfully), unlike some of my friends who tried to become vegetarian – and even vegan – at home but were prevented from doing so by their hard-pressed parents who couldn’t cook an extra meal.

    That being said, I didn’t become fully veggie until I left home, so there might well have been a few chickens and bits of mince being thrown down my throat as a teen.

    The next hurdle, of course, is them wanting to eat it at others’ homes and when we go out…


    November 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm

  3. Interesting conundrum. My dietary issues have run more toward getting my daughter to eat “Texan” (as in tortillas, salsa, beans, fajitas) than a meat/non-meat thing. However her dad has trained her palate to love cream and sausages (he’s a true English cook). You win some…

    Jennifer Howze

    November 23, 2009 at 4:22 pm

  4. Gosh, Jennifer, I wish my mum had wanted me to eat Texan foods – I’d have loved it!

    There will always be differences of opinion with food – in our house we often refer to our children as Jack Spratt and his wife for liking the opposites. Although, these dietary preferences do change weekly, it seems.

    However, they are now firm meat eaters at home – I have lost my cause. Never mind. Like you say, you win some…


    November 23, 2009 at 4:32 pm

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