Saturday, January 26, 2008

All Creatures Great and Small

While my friends (and of course the BBDD) were moving our stuff I was hanging out with Bambina. We started talking about what food we like/don't like. I told her that she never has to eat anything she doesn't like {I can see my Mom looking dubiously over the top of her glasses at me}. I said this on the theory that I sure as hell don't eat food I don't like, her father doesn't eat food he doesn't like, no one I know eats food they don't like, so why should I make my kid do it? I did say that our family rule is that she must try everything once or twice (and believe me, if she knew the quantity of covert butternut squash in her mac and cheese, she'd freak). But if she genuinely can't deal with corn on the cob, she doesn't have to eat it. I want her to grow up loving food in a healthy way, I want her to enjoy the pleasure that is a delicious meal. More than anything I notice that she eats a decently healthy array of foods without any cajoling or arm-twisting (obviously having tangerines and bananas visible helps), so why inject a power play into an otherwise lovely dinner.

Anyway, this conversation was precipitated by her very full--as in untouched--lunch box the other day. I asked her if she just wasn't hungry at lunch, if she didn't like the lunch, or what. She was evading the question so I said, "Seriously. I just want to know so you can get lunches you like." She then conceded that she no longer likes spaghettios. And that we got the wrong brand of string cheese. The Horizon Organic cheese is fantastic. The Frigo stuff apparently, to this preschool epicurean, is too stringy. So I tried one and damn if she wasn't right. That cheese was a hot mess of tiny yucky thin stringiness sticking on the roof of your mouth and between your teeth. So I told her she just has to say so and she can get yummy lunches.

So today was the follow up as we discussed what we DO like. She likes edamame, mac and cheese and brie. Then we started to discuss chicken nuggets, her most favorite food group outside the mac-and-cheese category. I said I like the soy kind, not the real chicken kind. I told her that with the exception of her forays to McDonalds, she's been eating and loving no-chicken chicken nuggets. I said I preferred fake chicken to regular chicken. She asked what was "real chicken." I told her that somebody catches and kills a chicken and cooks it. Chicken is an actual chicken, killed. I'm not a member of PETA or anything and I don't really have any issues with people who do love chicken and beef, and I eat them a decent amount of time myself to varying levels of aversion, but as I was describing how a hamburger is a cow that is killed and ground up and cooked, I was thinking "I cannot believe I'm having this rather violent discussion with my kid!" As I was getting to the end of my stream-of-consciousness Linda McCartney-style "I don't want to eat food that has a face" blather I was starting to feel like I'd said too much. Have I freaked her out? Will she never eat meat again? (not that she likes it that much anyway). Will she be all,"Mama! I love soy burgers too! Let's be the Vegan Twins!"? Is my little flower a gentle empath who speaks for the ducks and baby sheep?

Nope. When I said, "I guess I just don't want someone to kill a chicken so I can eat it," Bambina said, "I do! I want them to kill chickens for McNuggets!"**

So there you have it. My gentle, sweet and precious baby girl. Going medieval on poultry since 2004.

**This comment actually made me laugh as I recalled a July 4th parade in Takoma Park, MD a couple of years ago. Takoma Park is a "progressive" community wherein there was a great deal of consternation over whether the local farmer's market should be allowed to carry meat, organic or not. The goal of several groups was to ban meat from the market. Well, along come the parade floats, "Takoma Park Bank Salutes America" etc etc. And then comes a Meat Lovers float with a big sign: "If God hadn't wanted us to eat animals, then why did he make them so tasty?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

C and J in MD love that Bambina still hearts her all white meat McNuggets! Smart girl- I'm sure she's choosing the low fat milk and apples in her Happy Meals too!