Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tastes Just Like Chicken

Grandma has been volunteering at Jacob's school reading stories to kids the last couple of months. The last time she went, she brought a few eggs the chickens in the backyard had laid for the kids to see. She said many of the kids didn't know eggs came in different shapes, sizes and colors. At first I was surprised to hear that, because living in Gisborne which is almost an hour away from the city, many homes here have livestock in their yards. But turns out that's not the case. I guess no matter which "city" you live in, you don't really get to see where your food comes from.

This made me think about just how much Boy Wonder understands the fact that when he asks for chicken nuggets, he might very well be eating Whitey who lays all the white eggs in Grandma and Pop's backyard. And when the kids chants for more fish at the dinner table, that it just might be Nemo they're gobbling up.

I've never "neglected" to tell the kids what it is exactly are on their plates. The kids love their "ro ro", which means meat in Chinese. So whenever there's a kind of meat for dinner, I would tell them its fish "ro ro" or chicken "ro ro", etc. And whenever we see a certain animal like a cow or goat or even some fish swimming in tanks in a restaurant, we always point them out and say yummy! Its always come unconsciously. When we see an edible animal, we say yum. Is that messed up?

But just to even things out, I had a pretty embarrassing episode at the supermarket just last week. We discovered tofu in the supermarket down the street. And when the kids realized it was tofu, they started grabbing it from each other, screaming "I want it!". I was frozen with embarrassment watching them while other shoppers looked as they walked pass. I bet they have never seen 2 kids fighting for tofu before!

I guess in someway I wonder if I should worry whether telling the kids all these animals are yummy would take away their respect and care for animals in general. Has it actually registered in their minds yet so that when Boy Wonder sees a chicken running around, he actually sees a chicken nugget with chicken legs? And when they eat fish, which is one of their favorite dishes that he would ask whether its Nemo, Marlin or Dory he's eating?

Just a few days ago, Pop discovered a nest with 3 baby birds, only a few days old in his welding mask in his work shed. The kids were thrilled to see them! Boy Wonder kept asking if he could touch them, but we said no because if he did the mother bird won't want them anymore. If I was by myself watching these baby birds, I would be thrilled beyond belief. I've always dreamt of getting really close to a nest with baby birds since I was a kid. But when that moment came the other day, my main concern was making sure the kids don't touch the birds and that Pop doesn't move the mask too much in case the birds fall out of it! My concern for these darn birds over road the moment of awe I was in.

So anyways, in the end I just want my kids to grow up to love and respect animals in general. I don't want them to be afraid of them, but at the same time, I want them to know that we also live on the sustenance they provide us. I am happy that our kids will grow up to know where eggs come from and where their favorite "ro ro's" come from. And most of all at least I know Boy Wonder and Nachos will grow up saying food doesn't come from the supermarket only.


info said...

Cool post! How I wish J could say the same thing, all he knows is that food comes from Wellcome or Park and Shop or the market. Although a baby bird did live in my mom's garden in Manila, and for days the mom came and sang to us and woke us with her chirping in the mornings. That was one of the rare times J had close contact with nature. Hey we have an Arabian/Indian themed Halloween party at the Singsons on SAturday. Gonna miss you.-ragamuffin

christao17 said...

Those are difficult lessons to teach, aren't they? Anymore, we live so detached from our sources of food that we don't equate "meat" with "animals".

Maybe taking Boy Wonder fishing and then preparing the fish for dinner would be a good start. My grandfather did that with me during the summers and so I learned that fish and frogs were the things we caught, killed, and cooked.

Funny story, though: one day my grandfather was gutting the frog and he found a mouse in the stomach. The frog must have just ate it recently. He called me over (I was about 8 at the time) to show me and I was so disgusted that I refused to eat dinner that night.

My grandmother scolded him for showing me that - too much nature, too early.