For a long time, Moo never ate meat. I don’t know why. I never asked. Having been a vegetarian for six years, this never bothered me. There are always people who comment about how important it is to eat meat and how the baby needs the protein and blah blah blah.
I’ve got nothing against meat. I cook it almost every day. I eat a bit of it. Sometimes. Rarely. I sometimes eat toddler portions of meat. I generally prepare four servings of meat. One for The Mister, one for his lunch, one for Sassy, and then one to split between Moo, the dog, and myself. About once a month, I crave a cheeseburger or a chicken sandwich. I assume that’s a request for iron, which yes, I do run low on.
I’m just not a fan of meat. One fried chicken strip, six bites of steak, bits of meat in a soup or stew, coupla strips of bacon or sausage — that’s a week of meat for me. Honestly, I don’t care for the texture of meat and I don’t think cooked mammals agree with me particularly well.
Moo always has liked fish and eggs, as have I. There are always people who comment about how fish is meat, and fish have faces and vegetarians shouldn’t eat anything with a face or how eggs hatch and have faces and blah blah blah.
All of my other kids are quite carnivorous. Bubba loves a meatloaf, Sissy will cut a bitch for some pork, and the reason I came to eat meat after those six years is because Sassy cried for meat from the womb. Pregnant with Sassy, I was an indiscriminate meat eater. Pregnant Me once asked Beauty Queen to make me a bologna sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip because hers smelled really, really good (to the baby!) She asked me, “You know bologna’s meat, right?” Yep. I did. I do not eat Miracle Whip, and I only eat white bread and bologna at the beach, but the baby loved that sandwich!
Four-year-old Moo used to tell people she was a vegetarian except for sausage. And then except for sausage and bacon, and then except for sausage and bacon and turkey, and then we taught her to say, “I’m not big on meat.” There are still people who are irritated by this. I am not one of them.
What I am irritated by is her inability to remember the names of food and dishes. When they were smaller, I understood how they forgot summer squash or how they didn’t remember what scallopini was. But now she’s eleven. Every night is some version of this:
“You like stir fry. It has lotsa broccoli.”
“I don’t even know what stir fry is.”
“It’s what’s fer dinner.”
— Ten minutes later, I add the veggies and put the lid on, she comes into the kitchen and says, “Oh yummy! I love this! With the rice?”
“Not for you, you don’t like the rice.”
“Yeah, I only like rice for sushi.”
“It is the exact same rice, but okay.”
“What’s for dinner?”
“Pork chops, cabbage, carrots, and wild rice.”
“What? You love cabbage, you love carrots…”
“Ehhhh…the rice with shiny bits?”
“I like that rice.”
“Yes, and you love cabbage and carrots.”
— Then an hour later, “Mmm mmm mmm, I just love this cabbage.”
Finally, around age five, I discovered Moo had a favorite dish and it didn’t have a name. At least, I didn’t have a name for it. Almost everyone in the Midwest eats it, it was a staple meal when I was growing up, it definitely falls into the comfort food category, and it’s always at family reunions and pitch-ins round these parts.
When I would describe the contents of said meal, her face would light up and she couldn’t wait to eat it. “You’re makin my stew! Oh that’s my favorite!”
*cooks dish and photographs it*
I’m not a recipe person, but if you’re inclined, I give pretty good instructions. Put in just enough water to cover the bottom of a big ol pot, heat up some diced onions. Add smoked sausage, sliced to your liking. I always give the ends to the dog. People are weird about the ends of sausages.
When the onions are soft, add beef broth, green beans, red potatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer.
We call it Moo Stew.
There are variations of this all over the internet. I prefer to make this with fresh green beans and potatoes, but when I was a working mommy, I didn’t hesitate to use bouillon cubes and canned potatoes & green beans, and it was still delicious (and no one died of sodium intake.)
So, do you eat a plant-based diet? Do you like the taste of fish faces? Do your kids claim to hate everything they love?