Live to Eat: Part 2 of 2

January 25, 2010

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Meat Week 2010

Image by Mike Licht, via Flickr

Although I certainly didn’t mean to wait almost two months before writing the second part of Live to Eat (here’s the first part, in case you missed it), it probably worked out for the best because now I’ve had some time to give the whole “local meat only” thing a test. (Also, apparently, we are coming up on a little-known, week-long celebration of meat called, appropriately, Meat Week. How’s that for me being timely and topical?)

I’m sure that, in addition to your jobs, and dealing with winter and other stresses, you’ve been thinking of me often and wondering whether I survived on only local meat (although, I guess I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t survived, so that may not be the nail-biter I was going for). You probably spent some sleepless nights, wondering whether my experiment would have a big impact on the future diet of my family. It was, frankly, rude of me to keep you out of the loop for this long.

In a nutshell: In the past eight weeks I have eaten meat probably two to three times a week (down from at least four-five servings), and I’d estimate that at least 80% of that meat was purchased at a local farm and prepared by me in my own home. Considering the major holidays that were celebrated during this time I was, frankly, impressed with myself. I was also surprised by how easy it was.

To be clear, part of why the experiment was so easy was that I was not hardcore about it. I still cooked soups and pastas with chicken stock, and a couple of times I shared entrees which contained meat and just left the meat for David. One time, when friends were over, I made a warm beet and bacon salad and it looked so good there as no way I was going to pass it up (it was, by the way, really really good — let me know if you want the recipe). And, lastly, I even totally forgot my experiment several times; I’d be socializing and perhaps drinking some wine and, without even thinking, I’d pop some meat-filled appetizer into my mouth. Whoops!

Overall, though, I’d say I decreased my meat intake by about 60%. And since I do almost all the cooking around here, David didn’t have much choice but to come along for the ride. (He does, however, hold a lot of business meetings over lunch, so for all I know he could be tearing up a rack of lamb or a Cornish game hen on a regular basis. If he is, more power to him; I’m not one to foist my experiments on anyone else.)

So, to re-cap: Blah blah blah local, blah blah blah yay me. Who cares, right? I mean, yes, I do feel a sense of satisfaction when I think about what I am not ingesting. But my diet was really quite healthy to begin with. Where we have real problems is with the diet of a certain someone else who lives here. Hint: It’s not me, or David, and it’s someone whose height is still measured in inches. And it’s not a dog.

I’ve noticed a couple of things about parents, their kids, and their kids’ diets. First, parents do not like to talk about what their kids will or will not eat; it somehow seems like a personal failure if your child does not love raw broccoli on top of brown rice. And second, once you do get the parents talking, you have opened the floodgates and you will hear some funny and some disturbing stories, many of which will involve projectile vomiting, and all of which will make you feel better.

I’ll start the true confessions. Here’s the biggee: My daughter does not like ANY vegetables. None. Not even corn-on-the-cob, not even if I melt orange cheez-product over them, no, no, none. I used to be able to sneak some in there in a meatloaf, but now that she is four+ she will examine anything on her plate — anything that is not a chicken nugget, white rice, or fruit — and point at the tiniest speak of green and say “What is THAT?” And once she has asked that question, it is over. Unless, of course, you are from that school that thinks kids should not be allowed to leave the table until they’ve eaten all the veggies. Insert projectile vomiting story here.

To make matters worse, the list of things that she will eat is constantly being edited. Example: Until recently, she would happily eat a hard-boiled egg (all “yellow part” had to be removed) but then, one day, she decided that didn’t like eggs, either. It is, conversely, rare for an item to be added to the list. This girl is stubborn like a mule (neither David nor I can figure out how that happened) and even my desperate pleas, like “ALL KIDS LIKE CORN ON THE COB!” are useless.

The point is, my daughter will not be joining the local meat experiment any time soon. We already have so many dietary constraints that I’m just happy I was able to switch her from the gross, dino-shaped nuggets to Bell and Evans. Seriously, a small triumph.

And that’s what were all about over here. The small triumphs.

[I’d love to hear about what you or your kids are eating or not eating. And, ya know, while I enjoy some parenting advice from time to time, I’m not so into it when it comes to the topic of food, since I really feel like I’ve tried everything and I’m doing the best I can — and, also, that I was the same way at her age and it will all work out fine in the end — so, if you would, please save the “Dora popsicle=child abuse” rants for one of those Moms-Being-Mean-to-Each-Other forums. There’s plenty of them out there.]

  • Meganne

    We've cut down our red meat consumption to 2x a month, but frankly if a meal doesn't have some kind of meat in it, which now means chicken or turkey products (the organic, no-antibiotic, lovingly-tucked-in-at-night kind), it doesn't feel like a meal. I try to get around that with soup night, but I've got a carnivore child and that girl is definitely caveman material. She will eat meat anywhere, anytime. It's a bit frightening to me.

    My friend's son loved meat so much that one time he bit into a tofu pup and burst into tears because he had thought it was going to be a hot dog.

  • 90% of Huck's calories come from popsicles, but he eats vegatables, meat, fruit, etc. too.

  • You should look into the Cambridge firm that is synthesizing meat from DNA in a petri dish. Essentially they take primo steak cells from the cow and grow a perfect steak in a dish. No cow killing, no methane farts, and they can control health attributes. Once this thing is out, all moral implications will twist to the point where nobody will think it is OK to kill again for a meal. Our kids will think we are cruel aliens, like when you hear about our parents who had people pump their gas for them or had their milk delivered by a guy with a donkey except X10.

  • lcarrigg

    Very interesting stuff. Synthetic meat, you say? I am trying to wrap my little pea brain around the implications. If I could eat meat all day and night without the ethical or health implications, would I? …

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