We avoid Whole Foods like the plague and I don’t drive a Subaru, but regardless of the fact that I’ve tried to shelter my children from being tree huggers, the unthinkable has happened…I’m raising hipsters. I wasn’t too worried when my youngest wanted a haircut that you would only see in a NYC cafe and it really didn’t bother me when my oldest wore a long sleeve flannel shirt in the middle of July, but then one night I came home to find out the most horrific news any parent can find out (besides the fact that you will be a grandparent at 33). Both my lovely, red meat eating children had decided to be vegetarian. And not just for one afternoon like the other 78 times, they have actually been holding steady for 3 weeks. If it weren’t for all the extra bacon I’m able to consume, I would be dead inside.
I know, I know, I should be really happy that my kids are PETA friendly and that one less pig out of the 5 million that are slaughtered every year gets to live for an extra week, but have you ever tried cooking for two vegetarians and one carnivore? HAVE YOU? I’m not trying to throw anyone under a bus here (except probably myself if I have to figure out how to make a decent tasting vegetarian meatloaf) but making dinner around here is already like qualifying for the Olympic dive team. When you can’t swim. My husband doesn’t eat 90% of all vegetables, so I’ve created a rotating menu of dead animal heavy meals that have a sprinkling of canned corn or an optional salad. Now my children eat only vegetables, my husband eats only meat, and I’m currently attempting to eat the label off this vodka bottle so I won’t be hungry at dinner.
The other concern I have (besides my selfish concern of having to do more work) is that I don’t know how on planet Earth I’m going to make sure my kids are getting enough of whatever vitamins or nutrients or animal fats (that aren’t from animals) so they don’t shrivel up and die before their next pediatric appointment. Which will probably end with the doctor telling me that my youngest is really thin for his age and if she didn’t know me better she would be concerned that he wasn’t being fed. Before three weeks ago, that comment made me laugh. Now I’m tempted to hold him down and drain an entire can of black beans down his throat while his dad inserts a drip line of PediaSure. This food struggle is real.
The vegetarian thing is just going smashingly over here (I say while I sob into the pantry). So far I’ve been able to create the equivalent of a hotel food buffet with optional veggies and meats for every single soul sucking meal. Fettuccine Alfredo with optional chicken, hamburger night with optional veggie patties, taco night with optional “I guess you are having a quesadilla cause I’m losing my god damn mind”. The hard cold fact is that these people want to eat like 3 times a day, so my plethora of ideas for being the hip mom with vegetarian meals my kids can eat while they wear Patagonia jackets and don man buns is really dwindling. Soon I’ll be chucking a bag of broccoli and a handful of cheese in everyone’s face and screaming “This is your f’ing vegetarian option and I’m moving to Belize to live in a hut and eat porridge for the rest of my life.” Porridge… let me put that on my menu list for the week.
When I finally complained to my co-workers about my inability to feed my own children, one lovely vegetarian pal said “You can buy just about anything you can think of as a veggie meat product.” At which point I was equally happy and mortified. Happy because…did you know they have vegetarian deli meat? Like what the fuck, Martha. Mortified because….we aren’t made of Whole Food/Lulemon/BMW SUV kind of money. When your fake deli meat costs more than our entire grocery bill for a week then I’m going to have to think long and hard about how I can get you to eat cardboard in your sandwich. Soaking it in gravy? Is gravy made with animals? I don’t know because it’s gravy and I could drink it by the barrel.
If you need me I’ll be Googling “How to feed your hipster children” and “Does cardboard count as a food group”.