My son has been a vegetarian since birth. This somewhat unconventional diet has not been his choice, but rather was imposed upon him solely by birth right. He has never ingested a juicy burger from a fast food chain, nor has he been served bacon with his breakfast. At Thanksgiving, we show up strictly for the carbs-no turkey protein for us! Junior is comfortable and satisfied at mealtimes, where the staples include cheese, beans, tofu, yogurt and whole grains, including lots-o-pasta. Over the years, I have brainwashed informed him of the inhumane and often unsanitary conditions in which cattle and poultry are raised in the United States. We have also discussed that as a card-carrying member of the “Religion of Joan,” it is considered less than spiritual to eat animals.
I remain hopeful that nearly twelve years of education and abstinence from flesh-eating have guaranteed that my son will adhere to this diet, however, a certain curiosity with the forbidden fruit (or shall I say forbidden flank steak) has been brewing in Junior’s little veggie head. Recently, he expressed an interest in taste testing a real, all-beef burger. Is Junior’s new found inquisitiveness just that, or is it a form of teenage rebellion? If the latter is correct, I would much rather he rebel against his enforced diet than his Type 1 Diabetes. (I have been forewarned by his doctors and clinicians that adolescent diabetics often rebel against their condition as a means of “fitting in.”) I must confess that my own curiosity has been peaked regarding Junior’s sudden interest in channeling his inner carnivore. I am just a teeny, weenie (pun intended) bit interested in learning if he likes it. (Kind of like Mikey in the LIFE cereal commercials.) He does, after all, possess the genes of a long line of butchers on his grandfathers side. Will his virgin patty-on-a-bun be passed through a window at the Golden Arches, or will it possess the title, “The Baconator,” where one can cross off two forms of livestock with just one bite? (Family and friends have discouraged him from choosing a burger-in-a-box as his first meat-inclusive meal, and are anxiously awaiting the call to assist him in his rite of passage.)
It has been several weeks since Junior first mentioned his interest in meat consumption. So far, he has remained faithful to the family food chain. I’ll keep you posted in the event he crosses over, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he remains my vegetarian baby!