“Is it mean to kill turkeys and eat them?” was the question posed to me by my seven year-old meat-eating son. I describe him as a “meat eater” because I am not. I’m really not against the act of killing animals for food, I just believe that eating animals today (because of the way they are bred, fed and chemically enhanced) will kill you. Now, before you get upset because you are an animal lover and believe we should treat all animals with respect or because you are a proud omnivore who believes you are on the top on the food chain and can eat whatever you please, stop and take a deep breath, I’m talking to a curious first grader with a valid question about food.
One of the most common food complaints from parents is that their kids don’t eat their vegetables. I never worried about Azul not eating his veggies because he always has, and that is because I always have, there was never an option not to. We eat a lot of vegetables, I cook them and we eat them. He loves broccoli (a.k.a. little trees) and beets because they make him pee and poop red. Beets are the best. I’m telling you, red poop is hilarious!
He is very adamant that he is in fact a carnivore, and I’m okay with that because I do feed him meat. And I take as much care in my meat selections as I do with my vegetable choices. I always do giggle when he proclaims his manliness in being a meat eater, but then eats his veggies first, because we all know, real men eat veggies. There is nothing more emasculating than watching a man cower at the sight of lightly steamed cauliflower and gag as it goes down. Really!?!
So, back to the original inquiry: Is it mean to kill turkeys and eat them? My answer, like many of my answers to my son was formed as a question and sent right back to him.
“It depends on how you feel about turkeys, I guess?” I know, deep. I exude nothing but parental confidence. “If you really like turkeys and feel strongly that you shouldn’t eat them, then it could be seen as mean to kill them. Or if you’re hungry and like turkey, then it wouldn’t be mean at all, it’s food and you treat it that way. So, what do you think?”
“I think if your best friend was a pig you wouldn’t want to eat him.” Was how he replied to my so-so answer.
“Probably not.” I said. We do read a lot of Mo Willems’ books and love the Piggie stories. With me trotting around a definitive answer, luckily our conversation moved on to a Thanksgiving song he learned at school that day called “Albuquerque Turkey.”
“Albuquerque has a turkey …”
Almost ten years ago we bought our first house, and like most giddy new home owners, I was ready to host a holiday. So, Thanksgiving was going to be mine! We had my family and my husband’s family, although he wasn’t my husband yet, and some of our friends over. It was a big gathering in my little house of about 1000 square feet; there was cooking going on, and drinking and talking and it was awesome. Once the turkey was done it was almost time to eat, and at the last-minute, I remembered, the gravy. I forgot about the gravy. I frantically started cooking the giblets and innards for the gravy. Whew, gravy is cooking and everything was still under control, now all I had to do was blend the gravy to make it smooth. I took the gravy from the stove top and poured it in the blender; I was almost done and ready to serve dinner to my friends and family. Have I mentioned that I am a vegetarian and don’t eat turkey or any meat products? Well, I turn the blender on and KABOOM! It exploded and there was gravy and pieces of turkey innards everywhere — on the walls, the ceiling, the blinds — everywhere. And I was wearing it too; it was on my clothes, in my hair and on my face and eyelashes. It was gross and hilarious. I guess you’re not supposed to blend hot liquids because the heat creates pressure, which can cause an explosion and a huge mess. Who knew? Five years later when we were getting ready to sell our house, there were still gravy stains on the ceiling from MY first Thanksgiving.