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What did we do wrong? Both kids are vegetarians!

  • s

It's really a hassle when they get home from college -- a nighmare sometimes. Hubby is an avowed meat/potato head and I'm kinda too. We can't be the only family w/this dilemma...cooking two dinners...and focusing on that rather than the visit and visitors!! What does the wise mommy do?

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  1. In all honesty? Don't cook two dinners. Be honest. Point out that while they might be vegetarians, you and your husband are not. In addition, it is a lot of extra work for you to prepare separate meals. You do not wish to spend all your time in the kitchen--you would much rather spend time with them. They are more than old enough to understand and are certainly old enough now to cook for themselves.

    As a possible compromise, if they agree to cook, you and your husband will try their vegetarian dishes.

    Or, you cook for you and your husband and they cook for themselves.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Colleen

      Strongly agree. Their dietary choices are their own, but they should not expect anybody to ever make any extra effort on their behalf. Under any circumstances. If they don't want the meat, let them eat the potatoes...

    2. j
      jaimegirl1799

      Hi, veggie gal here. Both my sister and I are vegetarians raised by two meat loving parents.
      My mother doesn't cook two meals when we are home. We make our own stuff, and I like it better that way anyway.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jaimegirl1799

        Ditto my Brother and Sister in Law. They cook their own food. I was also a vegetarian at one point and I never expected my parents to cook special meals for me. I didn't even use the meal plan in college and chose to cook for myself 90% of the time even when at school.

      2. For a while we had a similar thing in our house. I agree totally with the previous posters--it is your house after all. My mom would try things that you could mostly make altogether, but just hold the meat on some of it, or force the veggie to pick around the meat. Chilli she made in this fashion (with cornbread on top...mmm...); spaghetti and meatballs, lasagne.

        WOuld be great if you could turn this to your advantage--get them to do the cooking! To be a veggie they would have had to learn some cooking competence (the pallid offerings of university catering would force anyone into the kitchen)... think of it as them learning their own way around the kitchen.

        1. I have a few friends that are vegatarians and when they come to dinner I cook what ever I want to for a main course. I try to have something like beans and rice for sides or scalloped something with cheese. The veg heads can make the sides the main dish. I almost always serve salad, side veggie, and dessert. So, they get plenty to eat. One time I was serving a boiled beef with sauce, so I nuked a boca burger for the non-meat eater. She seemed happy with it and put the sauce on it. Once, I was serving a beef soup, so I just opened a can of tomato soup for the non-meat eater. It might be easiest to just buy some boca burgers, canned veggie chili, stuff like that to have on hand. There all easy to serve. You would all be able to sit down together.
          Let them cook a vegetarian meal for you one night. I'm a meat eater, but every once in awhile a can go without it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: em
            b
            Bride of the Juggler

            I second getting some frozen veggie burgers. I only eat kosher meat, so when I go to my in-laws they get these and I'm very happy at their barbecues eating my veggie burger and lots of sides.

            Also, if you can find Quorn Cutlets, these are frozen vegetarian patties that you can treat just like chicken breasts, and make another easy microwavable main course for the veggie-inclined.

          2. It sounds like you raised two children who are at the very least health-minded, socially conscious and/or strongly moral (depending on their reasons for avoiding meat). Be proud of that even though it's not the path you and your husband have chosen. You've already gotten some great suggestions of what to do about dinner, but I'd also add that it might be a fun challenge for you and a very touching gesture for your kids if you cooked an entirely vegetarian meal one night that they come home. Have them help out in the kitchen or leave it to them, and choose foods that are naturally vegetarian anyway (risotto, pasta, Indian or Ethiopian dishes). Another idea is preparing a bunch of pizza crusts and having everyone build his or her own pie--the veggies won't feel left out and the omnis get their flesh fix.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Grace
              s
              SuzyInChains

              I have to disagree with the idea that vegetarianism implies being "health-minded, socially conscious and/or strongly moral". These traits can be found in MANY non-vegetarians as well as those who limit their diet. The choice to not eat meat does not automatically signify a higher moral plane.

              1. re: SuzyInChains

                First of all, your logic is off. If X, then Y does not mean if not X, then not Y. I will agree wholeheartedly that many omnivores are also health-minded, socially conscious and/or strongly moral. Second, when did I say anything about a higher moral plane? There are many reasons for becoming a vegetarian (many of which have nothing to do with morality or ethics), but few of them are bad reasons. All I meant to suggest was that the original poster and her husband did nothing "wrong" by raising children who eventually decided, for whatever reason, to give up meat.

                1. re: Grace
                  s
                  SuzyInChains

                  Grace,

                  My (possibly flawed) interpretation of the logic in your post was:

                  IF
                  children are vegetarians
                  THEN
                  they are are at the very least health-minded, socially conscious and/or strongly moral.

                  I didn't see anything in the original post judging the moral or ethical implications of vegetarianism, just the fact that the parents eat meat and the kids don't. I apologize if I misinterpreted your post to mean that these traits are somehow connected to not eating meat, and parents should have special pride in children who choose this dietary lifestyle.

                  1. re: SuzyInChains

                    Then I apologize for misinterpreting your interpretation. I thought you reading my post as saying IF NOT vegetarian, THEN NOT health-minded, socially conscious and/or strongly moral. ("I have to disagree with the idea that vegetarianism implies being "health-minded, socially conscious and/or strongly moral". These traits can be found in MANY non-vegetarians as well as those who limit their diet.")

                    The title of the original post seems to me a clear judgment of vegetarianism. Likely it was just tongue-in-cheek and the poster doesn't really believe she's failed as a parent because her children are vegetarians, but I do believe that if any conclusion can be drawn from their choice, it likely is a positive one. As I mentioned above, there are many more good reasons to become vegetarian than bad.

                    1. re: Grace

                      I would disagree. I feel with the lack of reason (Religion/health/whatever) these kids have taken to vegetarianism because it's (Cool/trendy/peer pressure/whatever) and that is wrong. They should be their own person. If being their own person means that they just don't like meat, fine. But the OP seems to imply something other than that.

                      DT

                2. re: SuzyInChains

                  I don't think the original post was intended to disparage non-vegetarians but rather to recognize that one who grows up in a carnivorous household and later chooses to be vegetarian has made a CHOICE that requires some work and readjustment. That choice is probably/usually based on health, social/ecological/philosophical believes, or religion. Much less often, it's based on a desire annoy ... though rebellion often plays its part ... and one persons rebellion is another persons nuisance.

                  It's a fallacy for you to assume that acknowledging the roots of this choice says anything about people who don't make the choice other than ... they didn't choose to be vegetarian.

                  Rien

                  1. re: SuzyInChains

                    My sister sometimes reads this site so I am using an alias but...my brother-in-law is a vegetarian with one of the worst diets I've ever encountered. He doesn't eat flesh of any kind, which is fine, but he also hates vegetables. So that's a bit of a conundrum. I'm guessing they eat dairy laden food at least 5 times a week and the occasional grains and perhaps a potato curry here and there. It's beyond vexing to try to plan a healthy meal around him!

                  2. re: Grace

                    "It sounds like you raised two children who are at the very least health-minded, socially conscious and/or strongly moral (depending on their reasons for avoiding meat). Be proud of that even though it's not the path you and your husband have chosen."

                    Given the topic "What did we do wrong? Both kids are vegetarians!", the above quoted response does indeed imply that the attributes that you cite are somehow connected to the vegetarianism. Much more can be said through implication by choice of words and phrases than by a simple straight-forward statement. The quotation above does indeed imply a high moral ground based on vegetarianism.

                    Perhaps you didn't mean it as such, but your choice of words certainly permits such a logical interpretation.