Well according to Cameron it comes from pigs. Yes that’s right pigs. There are a lot of topics that we have shielded our children from feeling they were too young to handle it, but where meat comes from is not one of them. I figure there’s really no good that can come out of telling them that meat comes from anything but animals, so we’ve always been up front when they ask about the sources of their meals.
The whole conversation about the origins of chicken came up in the car the other day. We live pretty far out on the edge of town, and there are quite a few acreages around us as well as some undeveloped woodland. This means that we get quite a few deer out by our house, though usually on the opposite side of the road since our side is all subdivisions.
A few weeks ago, as we were driving home, we stopped at the light at the last major intersection to get to our house and saw to our astonishment not one, but three deer crossing the street. We were shocked to see that many at once, and to see them in broad daylight. Our only other experiences with them were usually really early in the morning, or at night. We proceeded to drive the rest of the way home rather cautiously as they were running parallel to us through the acreage to our left. We were concerned they might suddenly decide to dart across the street to the wooded area to our right.
Evidently this experience stuck with Brendan because the other day as we were again driving home and came to the same intersection he started talking about it. His comments and observations soon gave way to questions. He wanted to know if we ate deer. I explained that people do eat deer meat, but that our family did not. Which then led into questions about why we don’t eat deer meat and what other meats some people eat that we don’t.
In the midst of all this I hear Cameron’s excited voice from the back of the van saying that he wanted to tell us something. He said, “I know where chickens come from. Pigs!!!” It was so hard not to laugh at his mistake. He was so certain that his little processed chicken nuggets came directly from Mr. Pig. But I corrected his assumption and told him what types of meat we do get from pigs. This seemed to confuse him some as he then asked, “Well then where does chicken come from?” Uh, the chicken.
The look on his face when I told him that chicken comes from chickens was priceless. It’s so funny to me that my kids will accept that all the different cuts of beef and pork come from cows and pigs, but have difficulty in understanding that things like chicken and fish come from the animal they are named after.
Because a few years ago we went out to lunch at Long John Silvers. Brendan adores that restaurant, and for years called it the Blue Fish Store because he couldn’t remember the name. One day he’s munching away on his fish fillet, when he looks at it and asks, “where does fish come from mommy?”
This was right after we’d had our first few discussions on where meat comes from in general so I knew he could handle knowing that the delicious breaded fillet in his hand was once a cute swimming creatue in the ocean. But the look on Brendan’s face as I explained to him where fish came from was about the same as when I explained to Cameron about the chickens. He stared at me in disbelief, shook his head and said, “wait, this used to be a fish?” Yes baby, that’s why they call it fish.
I don’t think there are any other meats that are named after the animal they are derived from, so if Kaylee has questions I’ll be filling her in on the same things I’ve already taught the boys. Hopefully they will fill her in about the origins of fish and chicken before it ever even comes up.