I confess, we love meat at our house. It's just true. We're carnivores. Nothing makes Utah Dad more angry than a wasted sausage. Let a piece of bacon fall on the floor and really, it's just about the end of the world. The boys take steak kabobs to the Annual Father and Sons' Outing and we splurge for a rib roast at Christmas. Utah Dad doesn't think it actually counts as a meal unless there is a substantial percentage of beef or pork or possibly chicken (heaven forbid) in the recipe. And all of my kids agree.
My dad once told my mother in their early years of marriage (hopefully I am remembering the story right) that he preferred meat and potato dinners. He wasn't a fan of casseroles. As a result we mostly ate meat and potato dinners when I was a kid. There was always a vegetable on the side, rolls and dessert. My mom excelled at the square meal.
Since my dad was a hunter, we ate various forms of meat--elk, venison, pheasant, quail, rabbit--pretty much whatever was in season. We also lived on a small farm so we had a few cows and every now and then we raised a pig.
My brother and I were very young children the first time we raised a pig. We named him Homer and we visited him now and then in his pen. It certainly wasn't a "Fern and Wilbur" type relationship, but my parents were worried about our reactions when we found out that Homer had been butchered and that we were now going to eat him. They told us gently and were rather shocked by our childish responses. With gleeful faces we shouted "We're eating Homer!" over and over as we chewed piece after piece of ham. My parents had trouble eating their own dinners that night.
We don't live on a farm but my children have spent time on their grandfather's farm and they love to see the animals. They also know that meat comes from those animals. Over the years we've had several humorous conversations with the kids.
When Amberly was about three years old, one night at the dinner table she told us: "Cows give us milk. Pigs give us bacon and rabbits give us carrots."
Lilly, whose favorite stuffed pet is a little pink pig, was eating pizza on Monday night. Thomas watched her pick a pepperoni from her pizza. Pulling a pepperoni from his own pizza and holding it up in the air, he taunted her, "Pepperoni is from pigs, Lilly." She paused with the pepperoni half way to her mouth and countered, "No, pepperoni is from cows because cows have spots." Then she shoved that delicious circle of meat in her mouth and chewed with her supposed victory.
But today Neal and Thomas watched Food, Inc. on Netflix after school. This evening, Thomas was playing with Legos. I asked him what he was building and he announced, "It's a slaughter yard. I'm going to work in a slaughter yard." I haven't seen the movie but I've heard about it and I highly doubt that was the director's intended outcome.
Meat. It's what's for dinner (at our house, anyway).