So, my brother-in-law is currently undergoing chemotherapy for a brain tumor. (He had surgery a few weeks ago and the surgeon removed most of it. The prognosis is pretty positive.) You’d think that would be the topic of my post, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s not. Somehow it doesn’t seem my story to tell.
Why, then, do I bring it up? Well, soup. Soup and chickens.
When I asked Mike what he could keep down, he said soup. Actually, he said. “Well, brothy soups don’t seem to make me hurl too bad.” So Sophie and took it upon ourselves to make him a pot of the most delicious, nutritious, non-hurl-able chicken noodle soup in all the land.
I’m actually a pretty kick-ass chicken-soup maker. For this one, I threw a nice big fresh chicken, some onion, carrot, celery, bay, peppercorns, and a little garlic in my big stock pot to make the broth, cook the chicken, and get the soup ball rolling. When the chicken was cooked, I took it out of the pot, let it cool, and commenced to remove the meat from the bones.
Soph was sitting on the counter, as is her usual MO when I’m cooking. Now, my girl has eaten a lot of her chicken in her day, but I think this was the first time she saw an actual whole cooked chicken. Her chicken usually appears in nugget or drumstick form. She looked at the chicken for a while and said, “This isn’t a real chicken. Right Mommy?”
I answered her, “Well, yes. It is.”
She thought a while and asked, “But it never had a head. Right Mommy?” Warning bells began to ring on my mommy radar.
Deciding that honesty was the best policy, I told her, “Well, actually, yes. It did have a head.”
She sat for a while, and then asked the inevitable, “Where is the head now?”
Again, going with the honesty, and trying to head off further questions, I decided to give her the whole story. “Well Soph. This chicken was alive. And then somebody killed it and chopped of its head and pulled off its feathers and sent it to the store. We bought it at the store to make some soup for Mike.”
“Was it a bad guy?”
“Was who a bad guy?”
“The guy that chopped off the chicken’s head.”
“Nope. It wasn’t a bad guy. It was just a regular guy. Honey, when we eat meat, it means we’re eating an animal. The animal was alive once. Farmers raise animals for us to eat. That’s why there are farms. We need to be grateful for our food and not waste it, because the animals were alive once. Some people have decided that eating meat is not ok, and they are called vegetarians. That’s ok. But Mommy thinks it’s ok to eat meat. She just tries to be very thankful.”
“But not cows. Right mom? We don’t eat cows.”
“Well, yes. We do. Hamburgers are made from cows.”
Now the whole time we’re having this conversation, she’s been picking little bits of chicken out of the bowl I’m using and munching on them. At this point, she kind of looked at the piece of chicken in her hand, then sort of shrugged and popped it in her mouth.
This conversation is not unlike the one we had when Soph was just learning to talk. If I remember correctly, I was eating a chicken sandwich. She was curious, so I offered a little piece to her, asking, “Would you like to try some chicken?” She looked with horror at my offering, and asked, “Bock bock?”
It does seem weird that her whole life we’ve read books about farms, watched shows about farms, sang songs about farms, but never once have we talked about the fact that the animals on the farm are pretty much dinner walking around. It seems weirder that we do that to begin with. That is, personify our future food. Why do we romanticize farm animals so much?
This is the part where I should deconstruct the above, and wax all philosophical about it. But I don’t think I will.
Today’s best thing about being a mom:
It makes me think about things I should think about but don’t.
Today’s worst thing about being a mom:
There’s no denial allowed.