Friday, April 18, 2008

We know what our food ate

We've tried to raise the girls with a healthy attitude towards food. Specifically, towards meat. They know where it comes from. They know that steak and hamburger was once a cow, bacon, a hog and venison is Bambi.

For them, meat doesn't start out all clean and neatly wrapped up in cellophane in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. They know the meat we eat once had a face and I honestly think that makes them respect and appreciate our food a little more.

Unruly isn't a big meat eater. She never has been, even once telling me she just doesn't like the way it tastes. The child will eat a plate heaped with broccoli and spinach and lima beans before she'll even think about chewing on a piece of steak or munching on a hamburger. I'm okay with that.

Recently the whole "where does your food come from" knowledge has taken on a whole new spin.

Meet one of The Ducks.

We have eight of these giant Pekins. This one is only 3 weeks old and is already nearly the size of a chicken.

None of these ducks have names. Can you guess why?

These guys are eatin' ducks. They will go from yard to freezer at the end of May. Unruly has been okay with the idea of them being food since we impressed it upon her at the very beginning when they were just cute little balls of yellow fluff. Sometimes she says she feels bad that they will die, but she understands where her food comes from. She's actually expressed an interest in trying duck l'orange or roasted duck with cherry sauce, which kind of surprised me.

I like knowing our future roasted ducklings have been raised humanely with kindness and with consideration about what a duck needs to be happy and healthy. They've had an opportunity to swim, bask in the sun, catch bugs and eat grass. Something all those factory raised ducks and chickens never get to do.

These little girls, on the other hand: Aren't for eatin'. They're for egg layin'.

This is a Rainbow Egg Layer mix...meaning we'll get blue, green, white, brown, beige and speckled eggs from them when they grow up to be hens in a few months. Cool, eh?

And this unusual-looking thing?Is a Guinea hen. Hubby says they're "ugly." I prefer to view them as "artistic." And their purpose in life is to amuse me with their antics...and to eat bugs. Mmmm...yummy!


Linlee said...

I know you don't want to hear this... but poor duckies! They sure are cute!

Jim Thomsen said...

You just saved her YEARS of therapy down the road. Good job, Mom!

Sometimes the best thing you can to protect a child is NOT to lie to them.


Jenn said...

Linlee...They are cute. They are very cute. And so are cows. :)

Jim...if you're being sarcastic, it's wasted sarcasm. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people knowing where their food comes from and understanding that something had to die so they could eat. Most people are far too separated from what nourishes them, and they don't appreciate it. They certainly don't an inkling about how their food is raised. Cows, chickens, hogs are raised on factory farms and more often than not, not treated humanely. But it's easier for 99% of the U.S. population NOT to think about how their food got packaged so nice and neat and clean in the grocery store.
Knowing where your food comes from and being part of the process does not require therapy later. Because all the little pioneer kids, oh, and the Native American kids, were all so screwed up after they helped butcher the family cow or hunted and killed the buffalo they could no longer function normally. Come on. Use a brain cell.
Will the girls help with butchering? Nope. Will they eat the ducks? Yup. And the cow too, when we raise it. It's what farm kids do.

MP said...

We had "country cousins" growing this day my 83 year old mother will not each chickens since she witnessed one go from walking around to the fryer.. Ok by me...more for me! took me a while to eat processed meat after being in a Mortadella / salcissa factory in Italy..ewww
I have never seen a guinea hen before!! HEY..what did all the birds think of the earthquake??

Krista said...

Ducklings are cute, ducks, not so much. We had a "herd" (what do you call them?) of baby ducks come to us from the blackberry patch across the road when I was a kid. They were mallards so we raised them and I think ended up taking them to the feed store.
We also raised sheep when I was little (I really do miss living on a "quasi" farm!). The first two, one was black and one was white. We named them salt and pepper... and when it came time to kill them we were all traumatized. I think I was probably 5? It wasn't our fault though, the guys did a horrid job, shooting one and missing the other so it freaked out and was running around the pasture screaming and we could hear it in the house. Horrid.
Later we had 6 brown ones and never got close to them. I remember having to pull their heads out of the fence because they would stick them through the squares to try to eat the grass on the other side and get stuck. They were too dumb to back up! I always think of that when the Bible says "all we like sheep have gone astray". Great, that means we're pretty dumb sometimes!
Anyways, before this gets too long (too late, right?) we raised rabbits for 4H as well and one event was to go to a rabbit farm. They served us hot dogs for lunch and then afterwards told us they were made from rabbit. I almost threw up. My rabbits were my pets since they were for show!

goat roper said...

Once upon a time, 2 little city girls went to live on a farm in the country. Their mommy taught them where eggs, milk, beef, ham, etc, came from. She thought she did a fine job. One day she brought home a hen to the 2 little girls, Miss Cluck. They loved the hen and spent many an hour playing with her. One summer morning, the 2 little girls came running inside, excited to describe closely watching Miss Cluck lay an egg. As dear mommy prepared a nourishing breakfast of scrambled eggs the sweet little girls screeched in horror, "We can't eat eggs! They come out of CHICKEN BUTTS!" True..... *sigh*

Sona said...

Although I don't live in a farm, I am honest with my daughter about food. I take a very 'Lion King' approach about it - it's just the way the world works.

Jim Thomsen said...

I wasn't being sarcastic. I'm serious. You're doing right by your kids by letting them see — and participate — in what really happens to animals. I think everything you're doing is great. When your kid is an adult, she will appreciate not being treated like an idiot who needs to be protected from reality. That's all I was trying to say.

It's better than saying: "Honey, just think of that duck as a really big Marshmallow Peep."

Carla said...

I think most adults need education on where their food actually comes from. I grew up on farms so I don't personally have a problem with it, but the majority of people think it's best saved for a segment on "Dirty jobs". We're basically losing those skills to take care of ourselves, I guess that's called natural selection.

slackermommy said...

You are smart to teach them this when they are little. I didn't understand the food chain until I was a teen and was so grossed out that I didn't eat meat for a very long time. Then in nursing school I had to dissect a fetal pig. I still can't eat ham. That little piglet was so damn cute but the skin grossed me out.

suesun said...

I can't help but think of Fern saving little Wilbur, and wonder if at some point one of your kids will come running into the kitchen screaming and yelling and holding on to one of those little ducklings so so hard she'll just about squeeze it to death by trying to save it. :-)

I concur with Jim here about the honesty.

I'm envious of your do-it-yourselfness.

Are they going to give the ducklings names?