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    The Darndest Things: Where Vegetarians Come From

    August 27, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    Have you ever wondered where vegetarians come from? I used to. But now, I think I know. It’s the parents. It’s all in how we handle the questions our children ask. I may or may not have tripped the first domino which will eventually lead to A. becoming a vegetarian.

    Here’s the story.

    A couple weeks ago, we sat down for lunch. I was serving leftover baked chicken and salad. Like I always do, I had cut up a chicken thigh and split it between the two little girls, because they eat like birds, those two do. (Baby O., on the other hand, eats more than the two of them combined and I wonder how those of you with many boys are not bankrupt.)


    As I was saying: chicken, cut up into bits, sitting on their plates. After we said grace, A. looked from her plate, to Q.’s plate, and back again. I was waiting for a complaint about something, but that’s not what followed.

    “What is this?” she asked.

    “Chicken,” I replied.

    She points at it with a wrinkled nose. “A chicken…lay this?” (We have laying ducks, remember. She is quite intimately acquainted with where eggs come from.)

    “Um. No.” I am so lame.

    “Well, where it come from?”

    “Well, it is a chicken.” This is me, and it gets worse.

    “Where the chicken go?”

    “Well, the chicken died and now we’re eating it,” I said.

    “Oh. Was it sick?”


    “Then why it die?”

    “Um. Well, someone killed it and so it died. Chickens are for eating.”

    She sat there for a while and stared at her plate. I was cringing.

    “Who killed it?”

    “Well, there are men that have that as a job. They raise the chickens and kill the chickens and sell them to people like us and we eat them.”

    “We know those men?”

    “No. But Mr. O. has killed birds before. We could watch him sometime.”

    “We going to eat our ducks?”



    “Because they lay eggs. Some birds are for eating; some birds are for eggs. If the bird is for eggs, you don’t eat it, or you won’t have more eggs…”

    That last part saved me because we were able to lead into a discussion of whether you could kill a duck and get all of the eggs out of the inside if you were really hungry, which led into The Golden Goose, and I really thought I was safe at this point.

    Until a couple nights later, when I was making fish.

    “What’s that, Mom?”


    “A dead fish?” *

    “Yup.” Why fight the inevitable?

    “Mom! All this killing!

    “Sorry. What else do you think we should eat?”

    “Um.” And she thought for a while. She looked at me timidly, like she suspected she was wrong. “Meat?” (My girls call beef “meat.”)




    And then she sat for a long time.

    “I know!” she finally decided. “Ice cweam! We could eat ice cweam!”

    And that, my friends, is where vegetarians come from.

    * I later needed to assure her that no goldfish are killed in the making of goldfish crackers.

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  • Reply Rahime August 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Ah. Poor, sweet, traumatized girl.

  • Reply Lynn B. August 29, 2010 at 4:48 am

    And think twice before you let your children see the movie “Chicken Run.” All three of my children have gagged on chicken for at least three years after seeing that movie. Why didn’t we catch on the first time, I ask you?

  • Reply Rebekah August 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

    That was so funny!!! Thanks for sharing. I don’t usually comment but just had to on this one. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kansas Mom August 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    We’re lucky we didn’t have any problems with this. Kansas Dad butchered 9 roosters (months ago now) and the kids ate them without any problems. They didn’t watch the butchering, but it wasn’t horrible and I would have let them if they were interested.

    We talk all the time about how First Son is going to have to raise his own food – a steer and hogs, whatever we can get – because otherwise we won’t be able to afford to feed him. Second Son seems to be heading in the same direction, if his nursing habits are any indication. Plus, he’s already huge.

  • Reply Mystie August 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    That is funny!

    Maybe I had better beware with my up-and-coming girl. πŸ™‚ My sons both love to say, “Oh! Beef! I just love cow!” “Is this bacon?! I just love pig meat!” They glory in the fact that someone raised and then slaughtered and cut up (bloodily) the animal into meat which we then can eat. They think it’s incredible and awesome. πŸ™‚ When my second son was 3, though, he asked questions leading him to realize that people are made of “meat” as well. That was a little awkward.

    They play Pa Ingalls going bear hunting so we can eat, and I have to promise to put all the bear meat in the freezer when they are done. They can’t wait to go fishing one of these days. πŸ™‚

    And, yes, I foresee going broke feeding my family in the future. πŸ™‚ I think 2 refrigerators and 2 extra freezers (right now we have 1 fridge and 1 large freezer) are in our near future. The Winckler genes have an incredible metabolism, and they all eat a ton and are skinny (the men) or at least thin (the women — who are also all athletic). And so far I think *all* my children got the Winckler metabolism. It’s frightening.

  • Reply Go quickly and tell August 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    cute ~

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