Friday, April 22, 2011


I had big plans for today's post: I was going to write about the delicious Zucchini Ragout I made for dinner last night, and how we all devoured it joyously, and how I'm trying to save some money by making occasional meatless meals, so that we can afford to get some high-quality meat every once in a while.

That's what I was going to write about.  But then we actually had dinner.  We all (except Einstein) ate the Zucchini Ragout enthusiastically (he ate it later for a before-bed snack....).  Unfortunately, all that joyful eating was prefaced by those 7 dreaded words from my husband: "Does this have any meat in it?"

"No, but it has cheese..." (we've had this conversation before.)
"Cheese is not meat."
"It has animal protein...and you had meat for lunch..."  (pulling out all the excuses that I know won't work.)
"Haven't we had this exact conversation before, and I told you that when we have vegetarian dinners, I'm starving again in a few hours?"
"But... it has cheese?"

Suffice it to say, we will be abandoning sneaky meatless meals for the foreseeable future.  Yes, we both know half the world survives with limited meat, and a whole grain plus a legume makes a complete protein, and we are horribly irresponsible stewards of the Earth and destined for early death for consuming animals from concentration-camp like factories, etc., etc., etc.

I'm sorry, factory-farmed chickens.  I care about you, I really do.  I just care about my husband more.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not abandoning real foods, I'm not throwing in the towel on healthy eating.  I'm just choosing which is more important to me: my healthy eating goals, or my respecting my husband's needs.  And I think it's a pretty easy choice.

Yes, I do all I can to make sure my kids are getting a minimum of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the like in their food.  But isn't it just as important for them to see me honoring their father, and to see the compromises and loving discussions that result?

My husband very kindly and graciously eats all kinds of horrible nearly meatless concoctions that I try to pass off as dinners, and he is careful to set a good example of appreciation for the kids, even when he is not particularly delighted with my culinary offerings.  So I don't think it's asking too much for me to make sure there is at least a little bit of meat in most of our dinners.  I may not be saving quite as many tortured chickens this way, but looking at the big picture reminds me that there are more important things.


  1. That is exactly like my husband!!! I don't know how all these frugal bloggers do it, but all of the men that I know say that if it doesn't have meat it is a snack. And I agree about choosing and weighing your battles.

  2. I certainly agree, that it is just as (or more) important for them to see you honoring your husband. And it's interesting that he's hungry later when there's no meat involved. I have only made a handful of no-meat dinners (and most of them are breakfast-for-dinner), and Will's never said anything like that. Maybe because he's such a big guy? And perhaps you could try another option - a vegetarian option for you and the kids and a meat one for him? I realize that would involve more work, but (for example) instead of a 9x13 pan of lasagna for everyone - two smaller dishes - since most of the ingredients would be the same - one with meat, one without. I'm just throwing this out there - I'm sure you have thought of this, or can think of more practical applications.
    Whew. Long comment.
    Also, I don't think you're destined for early death. :)

  3. Messy Mom, glad to know I'm in good company! I do think meat is a pretty important part of our diets, so I can't complain too much. If he's hungry, he's hungry!

    Stacia, that's a good idea. I am very experienced at this whole meatless thing. :) But I may give that a try. Lasagna is a brilliant idea, by the way! That may be my next meatless dish - there are so many good veggie recipes.

  4. I was really laughing when I read this because I have had that EXACT same conversation with Jesse ( : Go figure. P.S. Our only real fight that we had to share with our marriage counselor was when he tried to make spaghetti with two pounds of meat in the sauce.

  5. As a 6'4" 230 lb male I've had similar experiences and decisions to make in switching to 'real food'.

    While I do not eat meat every meal, I do for most. I have found ways to make it work as a college student for me and my girlfriend to still eat quality meat and avoid the CAFO junk. We get our meat (minus fish of course) from a local farm who raises their animals the right way.

    If it came down to factory meat or no meat, I'd go vegetarian without hesitation.

    Maybe the best option for you would be to find a quality farm and buy a quarter or half of a cow? The price per lb would be less or equal to CAFO beef, including all the cuts, and the quality would be better by leaps and bounds. Finding a cheap used chest freezer and the small electric expense to run it would surely be outweighed by the benefits.

  6. Kara, that's hilarious! Levi's really proud of Jesse for demanding meat. :)

    Andy, thanks for the perspective. We've been thinking about buying a quarter cow and will keep looking into it.

  7. I've always been a meat eater and the thought of a meatless meal would normally make me wonder if I'm ill....but both myself and my husband have cut back so much on meat I often think I don't need it, but because we have our own meat I haven't tried it yet. I do eat about half of what I used to eat and I think that is the better way to start - just eat smaller and smaller amounts. I am also wondering whether the fact that we don't eat much, is because I only eat home grown or organic meat products and we don't NEED as much because it's nutrient dense food.

  8. Lucy, it sounds like you're on to something there. I bet your home-grown meat is miles ahead of grocery store meat, nutrition-wise. It seems like a little bit of meat can go a long way, but I bet if you totally cut it out, you'd miss it at least a little. Especially since yours is such good quality. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  9. This is interesting. My husband and I became vegetarians about 5 years ago. The last year or so, we have been occasionally consuming meat that is organic or free range. I never had any issues with him complaining about being hungry or wanting meat. I just discussed the health benefits of consuming less meat, and he went along with it. However, I can still understand wear you are coming from. My father grew up on a cattle ranch, and if most of his meal isn't a huge portion of meat, he's unhappy. He's very stubborn about it too. Try to feed your kids as many meat free meals as you can get away with, though. That way, they won't think it's unusual when they're older. Good luck with trying to eat healthy and keep your husband happy at meal time!

  10. Heather, thanks for the tip about starting the kids out with some meat-free meals while they're young. So far, so good! I'm not really all about avoiding meat - just bad meat. :) If we could eat pastured meat for every meal, I would jump at the opportunity! But since we can't, I'm trying to limit our factory-meat intake and increase our real meat intake!

  11. Wow, thanks for this! I was just planning a sneaky meatless dinner for tonight. I guess I'll throw some chicken in!! Just found your blog the other day and am enjoying it a lot!

  12. Anonymous, I don't want to discourage you from making sneaky meatless dinners, if they're well-accepted in your family! Just first things first. I actually recently found some new sneaky meatless dinners that I'll be trying... with some emergency meat on the side, just in case. :)


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