Monday, November 21, 2005

Tortilla Roll

A lunch chosen and prepared entirely by Little shmoo. He even took the picture, with pumpkins added as "perfect decorations". A whole wheat tortilla rolled up with refried beans and cut into bites, grapefruit segments, cooked peas, carrots, and corn, and a piece of vanilla cake.
Verdict: He loved his lunch (5 proud stars), and I loved having him in the kitchen this morning, chatting as he chopped carrots, spread beans, and scored a grapefruit (which took him about 10 minutes!). "I'm going to eat the grapefruit first," he told me, "that cake can wait!"
Then a while later (still scoring) he said, "I'm tired of the people in my lunch group. They eat meat every day in their lunch, and when I see it I think, 'there's one less animal in the world'." Oh, it hurt to hear this and I didn't know what to say. It made me feel sorry and sad, sorry that I've opened his eyes to see a dead animal where other kids just see food, sorry that I send him out on his own every day to face it in a way I don't have to.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

... aww... i don't know what to say. that would be so hard to hear...

-shae

qetta said...

Jennifershmoo - what a great mom you are! You may have opened his eyes to see a dead animal where others see only food. But you also opened his heart to the concept of compassion, while actually living a compassionate lifestyle. And in addition to that, you make great lunches. :)

Leslie said...

Ever since I was five years old (im 24 now) I always thought of the foods on my plate as dead animals and not foods. I would refuse to eat them. I was forced to (just a tiny bite) but still managed to stay away and I was picky and a good food-hider. To this day I cannot comprehend how animals are seen as food, but I remember how I used to sit at a table and cry when I was younger because of a tiny piece of what-used-to-be cute chickens on my plate. I wish you wouldn't feel sorry, as long as both you and he are strong about it, it makes you a better person, not the one eating dead flesh. It bugs me that I cannot get through to adults, let alone children. You can tell Lil Shmoo that at least there's one more animal in the world because of him. 2 because of you too. And another thing, so many people who feel the way you do end up home-schooling. At least you have the guts and care for social aspects to send your son out into a chaotic world (public schools) and at least he has great guidance at home.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, god that just breaks my heart. I don't know what I would have said. Just tell Shmoo that everyone is different, with thoughts and feelings all their own. That's why god made chocalate and vanilla vegan ice cream!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer,
I know it must have hurt to hear little Schmoo say that, but in many ways, it's a great part of his social development. We all have to deal with being different at some point and for one reason or another in childhood and doing so helps to develop who we are and what's important to us. You can, of course, tell him that there are probably one or two other kids at lunch who think the way he does and that he can seek them out. It'll all work out for schmoo. He's too good a kid for it not to.

Anonymous said...

As a vegan I am digusted with the years I spent putting dead flesh in my mouth. Teaching him what you have is preventing him from feeling the same way in the future.

On a lighter note: I love your blog! You have inspired me to put more love in my lunches.

Anne

pickamuffin said...

i was raised veggie, and i used to feel the same way when i was little. i would focus really hard on my own food and not look at the other person's. i still do that to this day... i just can't bear to look at it. but even though it's sad to me every time i see it, i'm glad i see that and i have that awareness, unlike many people who don't even want to think about what is on their plate.

Shelly said...

Don't you dare feel sad and sorry that you've exposed little shmoo to this way of life! The only way we're going to change is through people like you, who have the guts to do the right thing, and teach your kids to do the right thing, no matter what. You put so much love and life into your lunches and your lessons to your son. He will be just fine. And he'll be exposing his classmates to the concept of a compassionate lifestyle at the same time. I can't tell you how much I admire you and your family!! (And for the record, as I was typing this, my son came up behind me and said, oh, yum...good food!)

Catherine said...

Two things . . .

1. We had a pet chicken in our classroom at work last year. (Her name is "Miss Chick." My former coteacher raised her from a chick we hatched from the farm on the nature center grounds.) It's interesting, how many parents came to us after their child had been in our classroom a short while and mention their child has questioned eating chicken at home, because of their time with Miss Chick at school. Fortunately, we have lovely families who don't push the issue or force their child to eat anything.

2. As a recent vegetarian, it's amazing how quickly one becomes put off by meat. I can't stand the smell of it any more -- I actually had to leave the lunchroom once last week because someone was microwaving something particularly meaty smelling. I can't imagine how your son must feel, surrounded by it!

Elizabeth said...

Catherine--that's exactly how I felt when I went veg. I thought beforehand that I'd eat meat on occasion, like on holidays and if we were at someone's house for dinner. But immediately after I just couldn't eat it at all. I went veg on November 15, 2000, and I did eat two bites of turkey that Thanksgiving, but that was it. I couldn't believe how fast I got repulsed by it! And....the smell of people who eat meat.....my husband, after being veg for a few months, went to a dinner where he was sitting in for a dignitary. He was put in a place of honor, and had forgotten to ask for a vegetarian plate. He was served chicken, and in his high place was embarrassed not to eat it. When he came home he smelled like dead animal. Ick. I told him if he did that again I wouldn't sleep in the same bed as him!

Ken said...

I empathise with your son's plight. Hopefully he understands, though, that not everyone has the same exposure to progressive ideas about ethical food choices. While it's grating to be constantly exposed to meat, it's unhelpful to be bitter about it, as everyone is on their own path. (Easier typed than done, sometimes.)

Anonymous said...

yeah. i'm the only vegetarian in my family, and most of my friends aren't veg. sometimes it's discouraging. and i personally have a hard time dealing with any kind of conflict. but anyway, i know that all i can do is cling onto what i'm doing and hope it makes them question what they eat (and i think with my one friend it actually has!)

Stefania said...

How do you handle Schmoo asking why his dad continues to eat meat? That's a tough one and I want to be ready when my Schmoo starts asking.

Anonymous said...

Tell him to ask his dad.

R-C said...

My daughter complained about the smell in the cafeteria. I felt so bad for her. I wish she had some vegetarian friends that she sit with or around instead of having to be around dead animals. I've worked so hard over the years to shield her. In the past year or so I feel as if all that shielding is crumbling around me... but I know she is better off informed which is more than her classmates.

Harmonia said...

That is so sad...but at the same time, I think it will make him stronger and remember why you and him eat the way you do. At least that is the way I think when I remember my childhood when I was forced to eat meat. I am grateful everyday I made the switch.

You're a wonderful mother and REMEMBER THAT!

robiewankenobie said...

yeah, my kids don't understand why daddy eats animals, either.

at least you're sending him out into that sad lunch environment with a kickass lunch!

ShanghaiCowgirl said...

Wow. I'm omni but I really love your blog, and more importantly I love the time, effort and love you put into your child. From packing his lunch to teaching him about your beliefs. His disappointment in his classmates is sad, but so enlightened for a child his age. You must be so proud.

This is not the forum to defend all meat-eaters on the planet, but everyone makes their own choices that are best for them in the moment that they are living. Perhaps his friends (and their parents) have not been exposed to other choices. Perhaps his adorable little lunchbox will incite questions and conversations in the classroom or at home. At the ripe old age of six, your child is already a motivator for change.

You're an awesome mom.

All the best to you and yours. Cannot wait until your cookbook is published, make sure it comes to Canada!

Dreena said...

Hi Jennifer,

My first post to your site, though I visit all the time! We often tell our 4 1/2 yr old daughter that she can make changes in our world... she can be 'a leader'.

Already, she sees lobsters in the grocery store and says "that makes me sad, when I grow up I am going to let those lobsters back out to the ocean". Also she says she is going to be (in her words) "a knock-down girl". She sees McD's, Wendy's, etc, all the "junk food stores", and says one day she will "knock them all down, but will tell the people to leave first" :)

So, they are on a path that hopefully will inspire them to make changes, or at the very least to inspire others.

Karen Anne said...

I feel so bad for the lobsters also.

Jennifer, I don't know how you are planning on publishing your cookbook, but if you don't have a conventional publisher lined up (and they would be crazy to turn this down), I've seen a wonderful job done on producing a cookbook with computer software. I have some info about how to do it tucked away from the author and I will be experimenting myself as I want to get my mom's recipes together. You could sell your cookbook thru this web site, or partner with amazon, etc.

Jennifershmoo said...

He's usually such a light-hearted kid, it was touching to hear him say that. I didn't mean to imply I was sorry that we are vegan, I guess I'm just sorry we live in such an unvegan world. And when he asks about his dad, I respond "I don't know", because I honestly don't!

Thanks for the info, Karen Anne! What software are you using? I am considering buying Page Maker or In Design.

Teagen said...

There is a book out there, I believe it's called "Raising vegan children in a nonvegan world" something like that. I haven't read it but I'm sure it is worth looking for.

Karen Anne said...

Here's the howto message I got from the person who made the cookbook. There is info in there that I haven't figured out yet. This was a cookbook of recipes from volunteers in the Howard Dean campaign, hence the reference to the "Gov." The cookbook looked great, which may not be apparent from her message:

The cookbook is in Adobe's Pagemaker, which I invested in a number of years ago when still on a ton of committees and always making brochures and booklets. I believe most printers can work with Word files as well, it just harder to work in when placing pictures. Check with your local guys for what they will accept, and what format pictures should be in - usually jpeg is ok. Another place to check for printing - colleges sometimes have print shops that are thrilled to get outside jobs.

Back in the 'old days', lol, the old cut and paste system was great too. I suggest making a master xerox copy of each page for 2 reasons: you can white out any small shadow lines around a picture, and if the machine jams, your original master isn't ruined. Then either make the copies at Office Depot/Staples or take the master set to a local printer.

I used a 70 lb. paper so the opposite page doesn't show through and bought the paper directly from a paper wholesaler because it saved a bit over having it supplied by the printer.. 24 lb. (aka 60 lb.) is more readily available and works pretty well also. The plastic combs aren't expensive, if your'e doing more than 50 it's probably worth getting the box of 100. One of our local Office Depot's has a binding machine out for the customers use, but not all do. Office Max now charges to let you use theirs. If OD/OM or the printer binds them for you they'll probably charge in the $1.25-$1.75 range per book. If it's under 50 pages/25 sheets then folding in half and stapling 2 times in the middle works well. The long staplers are ok once you get the landmark for placing the staples, but a saddle stapler works much better. I used to borrow the one our church had for bulletins and newsletters.

Re: the question 'did I use a local printer' - LOL. Well, yes - and no ;-) I sure paid him a lot for time that turned out to be unproductive, but am printing all the insides and color dividers here at home... Becasue it was such a small number of books (under 1000) it was prohibitive to run full-color on the press, so the cover was done on a color copier. That machine was adding a lot of red to the pictures and darkening everything up. I spent untold hours/days/weeks making adjustments to pictures but am no expert at that and besides - then the Gov. would come out with a very orange or purple face, or almost no color at all..... some pictures just wouldn't work so then I had to find replacement... you can see it still isn't as good as it should be. Even the inside graphics needed adjustment, too light/too dark, sometimes not all of them would link (they're actually in a separate file from the pagemaker document), you name it the problem happened - mostly my 'fault' because this is the largest file I've ever done and the first time I used some of the Pagemaker features. The weirdest thing though was how I'd go back (sometimes a cuople months later) and the same things kept cropping up. Finally at the beginning of August we got the cover in pretty good shape - and then they recalibrated the machine. did you hear me scream? Then after having been able to open it, suddenly the inside file was so big the girl couldn't open it so I split it into 3 sections. But then the links went to the great graphics blackhole in the sky - *WT_* and she could only open it in another software package. Which changed the font, which messed up a bunch of pages. And it printed really dark. ::sigh:: That's when I started printing myself. But it's done and I like the finished product (although of course I see lots of little things to improve) ...and I'd do it again in a flash.

ren said...

if you do not have a publisher, i suggest you look into self publishing at an on-demand site like lulu.com. i have not personally dealt with them but it appears that they have good support and info available. i'd also suggest NOT working in pagemaker, as i find it to be an awkward program. quark is pretty much the publishing standard for the companies i have dealt with and i personally feel it is an easier progam to handle but if you have the skills in indesign then i am sure you will be comforable with that. (i am sure some other people will disagree and tell you pagemaker is great, i suggest asking around since they are all expensive and although you can get the same end product, they all come with a learning curve).

i've been following your blog for a while and i think you do a lovely job. best wishes on the cookbook design and layout.

Lainey said...

As a non-vegetarian it disturbs me to see all the militant vegetarianism in the comments. I love the site, I find all these lunchboxes inspiring and really creative but I choose to eat meat. And feeling sorry for me from some sort of supercilious, arrogant pedastal of moral high ground makes me annoyed.

Anyway, I'm off to go sleep with my vegan boyfriend. (literally just sleepy, it's 3am here) I will continue to enjoy your site because I was not referring to any of the comments that YOU, the blogger, made.

Anonymous said...

Lainey,
I am very confused how you can come on a website entitled "veganlunchbox"...it has VEGAN in the title...and say that you don't like all the "militant vegetarianism." This is a phenomenonal site and service to the vegan community and it's offensive that YOU would bash it in anyway. This is such a positive site and for you to bring negativity to it is pretty distasteful. Kudos to Jennifershmoo for providing such awesome inspiration and service to the vegan community!

Lainey said...

You've completely missed the point anonymous. I agree all these lunchboxes are wonderful, creative and inspiring. It's the comments that I was referring to. Next time please read a little bit more carefully before jumping to conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Lainey,
I didn't jump to any conclusions. I was responding to your message, which I thoroughly read. My point to you is that it makes no sense for you to expect that a website entitled VEGAN anything would not have these types of comments. There are few outlets for vegans to vent and offer support to each other and this is one of them. If you are offended by our ethical beliefs and values, go to a site that suppports eating creatures' flesh. Enough said.

Jennifershmoo said...

Okay you guys, please play nice. In my real life I get along well with vegans and meat-eaters, and invite both into my home for friendship and sharing. When you are here at my blog, please try to imagine that I have invited you into a little piece of my home. I know you would not insult my personal beliefs or each other if you were sitting in my kitchen sharing tea. Please don't do it here.

Christina said...

You and your family rocks! Your wonderful, compassionate, and thoughtful child will save about 6,000 animals in the course of his life.

Feel happy that you he is aware and when he gets older he can do some powerpoint presentations on veganism for school. My friend's daughter does this, she's inspiring others to go veg.

Peas

Linda said...

I totally love your peaceful attitude. I love the care you take in creating an interesting lunch for your child. Some people moan about how picky their kids are and how they won't eat anything that is good for them. I just don't believe they have the type of creativity and imagination that would inspire a kid to try new things. I count myself as a very good cook and I don't even make lunched this inspiring for myself. Usually it is just a tupperware type dish full of leftovers. Which are tasty, but... something is lacking.

Anonymous said...

I just came over to this blog from Metafilter and I find it very interesting. Your doing good work and seem to be a great parent.

Sadly, when I came to this blog with this name I >did< expect to see militant, condescending vegan attitudes. It is common in activist communities and I certainly didn't see any reason it would be different here.

However I am pleasantly surprised by you, the author. The blog is as a whole very positive and concerned with your own morality - a perfect way to be.

As a side note, hopefuly the future "knock down" girls of the world will grow up to realize that the violent destruction of the property of others is not really justified for differences in diet.