Friday, September 16, 2005

Red State Vegetarians. Represent.

Right now I'm boiling a HUGE vat of seitan for Andy, Simon, and Charlotte. (Ethan and I still retain our meat-eating ways, in small doses.) I was thinking about yesterday, in class, when I happened to mention in passing, prompted by the subject of one of our poems, that my kids are vegetarian. One of my students (remember - young) couldn't stop herself from exclaiming in an aghast tone, "You don't feed your babies meat?! But they have those little meat baby foods!"

I sighed inwardly and explained the whole family situation (2 meat-eaters, 3 non), and how grossed out I was by those little meat baby foods because they so precisely resemble, in both odor and texture, cat food. So I didn't even feed those to my meat-eating child when he was a baby. I also explained that the large majority of the world's population is vegetarian, whether through economic hardship, religious observance, or cultural norms.

I was reminded of the first week of Simon's preschool, when I mentioned offhandedly to his teacher, who has known me and my family all my life - in fact she taught my now 33 year old brother - that Simon didn't eat meat, so at Thanksgiving when they hand out chicken nuggets to all the kids at snack time, or when they do fish sticks as a tribute to the loaves and fishes (it's a church preschool), I will bring a vegetarian version for him. Later she approached me all sweaty and shakily nervous, tentatively and conspiratorially whispering, "Now... how deep are you into it?"

"How deep are you into it?" Are you kidding me? It's not a freaking cult!

My mom still has reservations, and just a weird vibe about the whole thing, even though she tries her VERY best to make sure we're accomodated on family outings and at holiday dinners.

My student just couldn't BELIEVE it! How could I not give meat to my children?! And here I seemed like such a good, caring mom!


I think a large part of it is that we are in the Bible belt. In a big old red state. My husband says that when he was a small child, he was called a Satan worshiper. A SATAN WORSHIPER, for crying out loud! Someone said this to a small child? For not eating meat?! What on earth?! I seriously just do. not. get. it.

I really hope that doesn't happen to Simon. I'm not worried about Charlotte. I think she will just pelt anyone who dares to question her with falafel and tabouli, and then laugh at them. But he's a little more sensitive, like his big brother.

What is wrong with people in this state? WHAT IS SO SCARY ABOUT VEGETARIANISM?!


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3:10 PM  

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