Once upon a time, I was a vegetarian. A strict vegetarian.
I didn't eat red meat, or "white meat", or poultry or fish. I even swore off eggs and honey and dairy products for a time, in honor of "a cruelty free lifestyle".
I wasn't judgemental of others choices, or at least...I didn't mean to be. I thought I accepted them and that any of our teasing was in good natured fun. But I was proud of my choices, and my ability to wield my choice proudly. I looked forward to passing this dietary discretion on to my children. The whole "we choose what we eat, we choose what impact we make on the world, and we choose respect through nutrients" thing that I hadn't completely worked out in my still-maturing mind was important to me; and at one time I identified my conscientious eating as a vegetarian lifestyle.
I may not have always had an ideal vegetarian lifestyle, and I now realize that pasta roni meals simply aren't nearly as environmentally sound as a few conscientiously harvested scrambled eggs with locally grown veggies. But I tried.
Although I still think that cruelty free eating is important, and I'm still on an ethical eating kick...I'm no longer focused on flesh free food. I'm too busy avoiding gluten, and corn derivatives, and a myriad of other dangers. When you're corn derivative free...well, your options are remarkably confined. Add in gluten and dairy to the restrictions and your available proteins are left at...eggs. Beans. Nuts. Throw in digestive disorders...and you start to rethink the whole ethical eating idea.
As I've stated before, my personal tipping of the scales came when I paused and asked myself "What would Jesus have eaten?" (I'm not trying to be all high and mighty there, my religious beliefs are certainly convoluted and confusing...but I hang steadfastly to the belief that for me, personally, they are right. Just as yours are right for you.) And the answer came to me, quietly but assuredly "Mary made Chicken soup. 'Jewish pennicilin'" (Again, no offense intended to those websurfers who manage to stumble onto this post from some random web search.) And so, I sought out safe chicken.
This has left my family reeling. I began raising my kids with the "it's better to avoid flesh foods; but we all make our own decisions and we WILL respect others choices" mantra. They told people they were vegetarian, making their own choices. And then...then I dropped a landslide as I began sliding into a carnivorous world. (No, I'm still not eating red meat. And I'm still keeping it kosher style to the best of my ability. My half jewish husband isn't very helpful. His household wasn't kosher.)
I'm still in the "You choose what you believe" mind set for my kids though; whether we are discussing Santa Clause, the religion they most closely identify with or what to eat for dinner.
"Meat is bad," my youngest tells me, "You shouldn't eat dead things. I think it makes them sad. Would you want someone to eat YOU?"
And then she glares at me reproachfully. I try to simply remind her that there is a circle of life on the planet. And that some animals do get eaten. Even the Bible condones it, to a degree. The main thing is to eat anything you choose to eat respectfully. To choose healthy produce, and whole grains and protein sources.
She munches on her cheese crackers and continues to glare.
But my husband, being who he is, purchased bacon. It's not kosher by any stretch of the imagination. (except maybe St. Paul) and it's probably not terribly healthy. Although the bacon purchased is nitrite free.
He offered some to the kids. Who eventually accepted.
I'm not complaining, mind you. As said...I'm still in the "everyone chooses what to believe" mindset. And everyone makes their own peace with their choices, so it's fine if the kids want to eat bacon. I doubt it would be safe for me, even if I could justify consuming pig. They eat bacon, and I'll even prepare it for them.
But what boggles my mind is last night's exchange.
Bumblebee not only wanted bacon...but she didn't want to let Daddy cook it.
Mommy's bacon is better.
Now how on earth did an ex vegetarian who still can't bring herself to consume meat from a 4 legged animal ever become the "better" bacon cooker?
I always say the hardest thing about cooking for food allergies is not getting to taste things to see how they're coming along.
But apparently, my easy-cheating style of cooking has produced not just an edible bacon...but one that my picky daughter prefers over my (also picky) bacon eating husband's.