Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Almost-Vegan Love For Sale

"Mommy, I LOVE YOU" announces Frost (8), at breakfast.

"Why?" I ask, immediately on guard. Love is one of the child's greatest points of leverage in the family and often accompanies a request in some form.

"What?" asks Frost, having lost his train of thought playing sword poker on the iPad [1.]

"Why do you LOVE me?"

"Oh! Because we are now Sort-of-Vegan [2.], we bought the iPad and you bought us new sugary breakfast cereal!"

I am relieved. Apparently love and joy can be bought.

Frost is very happy we are now Almost-Vegan. He has become a mini food activist. Since I explained that the book Eating Animals had shown me how badly animals are treated when raised for food, and we would not be eating them, he has declared that vegetarian chicken nuggets are "even better..."

Yesterday, Fred took him to Trader Joes and they stopped at the snack bar. Apparently Frost found that there was pork and chicken in the snack samples and told the store employee that he would not eat it because he was Almost-Vegan and that it was not nice to eat meat because animals were treated very badly.

"Animals are nice, how would you feel if you were put in a small fenced off area with only a little space and you knew that later they were going to kill you and even if you didn't know, when you are being killed then you know."

Me: "Wren, do you eat meat?"
Wren (Age 3): "Yes!"
Me: Why?
Wren: Because I JUST like chicken!"
Frost [speaking very slowly] "But Wren... Don't you want to eat fake chicken that is just vegetables and tastes very good or real chicken which is a badly lived animal. They don't get a nice home like we do they only get a very small bad space. So, do you want to eat pretend chicken that tastes good or real chicken that is not happy?"
Wren: "Argh, stop talking, this is annoying."
Frost: Just say "yes" or "No."
Wren: YES!

Apparently, small children are not yet active in their moral choices - or my small child is a tenacious omnivore. As is my prerogative, I shall make choices for him.

We have found that Trader Joes Organic Whole Grain Drink is actually pretty good as a milk substitute and is cheaper and less sugary than the Coconut milk drink (which we love too).

1. Sword Poker by Frost: "Its sort of like a bit tic-tac-toe on a grid and you try to make poker hands on the grid and they do damage to the enemies"

2. Sort-of-Vegan / Almost-Vegan : This means we eat eggs from our hens, have not yet used up other animal product from the freezer and may continue with some dairy products if their farming practices are exemplary (not for me, but for some other family members) but are seeking animal-free alternatives.

1 comment:

tamusana said...

hmmm.... I admire your discipline, and tenacity,and fortitude... and [other words that describe your ability to take a stand and follow through]. Alas, I think we're confirmed omnivores, despite sharing your horror for meat production.

Last week we all went to see Food Inc. (2008 Oscar nominated film about the horrors of US agro-industry, featuring Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan) at the Geneva Forum on Social Change. (well, Kenji was there, but by prior agreement spent the entire 90 minutes playing on the iPhone and iPad.) Luca whispered to me at various points during the film "I'm never going to eat chicken again!" and "I'm never eating meat again!"

After the film it was late and we had to eat dinner (8pm on a Friday night) so we got quick (not fast) Thai food, including, I'm afraid, chicken satay, which both of the boys ate.

During the discussion forum that followed the film screening, a panelist reassured me that while factory farming does exist in parts of Europe, we're generally protected from it in Switzerland. We don't eat a lot of meat anyway (it's horrendously expensive here) but I've become a lot more cognisant of the "provenance" of the meat I buy, and am trying hard to buy locally farmed varieties.

Dairy -- no problem, Swiss cows have a fabulously cushy existence. I'm not worried about them. In summer we sometimes splurge on "Beaufort" cheese, a delicious hard cheese (similar to Comté) that is made from the milk of cows that pasture on high-altitude Alpine flowers. Did I mention cows have a good thing going here?

Eggs - don't eat them very much, but I do like to bake and make crepes, and don't know how one would get around using eggs.

Curious to know whether you can sustain your almost-vegan status ;-)