Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Meat Taunting Begins

This weekend marked the first obvious test in my sister's quest to raise her son as a vegetarian. We were gathered 'round the dining room table stuffing our faces with the spread that my Mom had made (yes, she did get the memo that moms are supposed to take Mother's Day off, and promptly licked it to wipe a dirt smudge from my brother's face). Among the veggie-friendly salads and sides was a platter of BBQ chicken sandwiches. My nephew, in addition to being the most adorable, hilarious kid I know (true, I don't know many children, because they frighten me with their shouting and coloring on the walls and rapidly growing feet), is also very into cheese and carbs.

Kind of takes after his aunt that way.

He was doing well with his fruits and beans and veggies and pasta bow-ties, and then began grunting and pointing at the chicken sandwich my Mom was eating. The bun represented the motherload of carbs: delicious, empty, fiber-free processed carbohydrates shaped like a soft little pillow. "Oh, you want this, Corbeau?"

Ring Bologna is HILARIOUS! And delicious. Do you have any?

My sister wiped his fruit-flecked face with a napkin. "Where are the buns? In the kitchen?" She excused herself to fetch her son a bun, and my Dad saw his opportunity.

Dad, whispering loudly to my mom: "Hey, give him some chicken. Just a little bit."

My sister, from the kitchen: "No, don't give him any meat!"

Dad: "Come on, just a little chicken!"

My mom giggled and tore a piece of bun from her sandwich. She gave it to Corbeau.

Dad: "Aw, there's not even any juice on that!"

My sister, returning to her seat: "I'm going to raise him the way I want, until he's old enough to make his own decisions."

My uncle jumped in with: "Hey, you need a babysitter tonight? I got lots of jerky!"

Dad: "You just wait until he has a bicycle and a couple of bucks in his pocket. Just wait until he tries his first hamburger. The kid'll never go back."

Me, trying to be a helpful pain in the ass: "Well, you used to call me Hot Dog Girl, and now I'm a vegetarian."

Hmmm....I thought I saw a trail of Bac-O's over here...

This was true. I'm famous for once announcing during brunch after church, "I think I'll just fill up on bacon." And also for sucking the cheese nibs from Oscar Meyer ham & cheese loaf, then folding the naked, pocked pink sheet of compressed snouts into my mouth. I was nine years old and hopelessly addicted to nitrites.

As was my brother, who would smuggle raw hot dogs from the kitchen when the mood struck. "Oh my god," my sister said to him, "You used to have the worst hot dog breath!"

Me and Uncle Hot Dog Breath. Just chillin'. Thinkin' 'bout hot dogs.

Later we were distracted by a cat stuck in a tree...it had a bad cold and a four-inch booger hanging from its nose. Which was sad, gross, and yes, a little funny. So the subject floated away. But it will be back, because my Dad is all about the meat. And one day Corbeau will eat a Bacon Egg and Cheese McMuffin, and then another, and ultimately experience the conflicted, simultaneous magic of singing tastebuds and a crying colon.

Anybody got a Kleenex?

*The cat came down by itself and will be just fine.


  1. square bologna, on the other hand, is DEAD serious.

  2. First--that is the cutest child ever. Just by using his face on a PETA ad, people would stop eating meat.

    Second, isn't it kinda mean to raise your child as a vegetarian in Wisconsin? Don't they pump brats into the water there or something?

  3. HA! We were vegetarians for awhile, until my mom found out I was sneaking over to Grandma's house for pork chops. :) When she realized she was jealous, she decided we weren't ready to be vegetarians yet.