Vegetarian Veterinarians

The other day Mark and I tried to have a conversation in the car. Mistake number one.

We were talking about an article, or maybe a show? I don’t remember. It was something we saw or read or heard somewhere about health, specifically cancer risks. This show, or podcast, or article spoke to the cancer risks involved with consuming too much meat.

During our conversation we spelled most of the big, telling words. A discussion that should take two minutes takes us about three days when we’re in the car with H, because we have to spell everything. He is nosy. And he’s learning to spell, so I’m doomed, but that’s a whole different post.

Anyway, at one point I said, “You know, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals already, and P and I both have some very anti-meat, pro-veggie tendencies, so maybe it wouldn’t be too hard to reduce our meat consumption even more.”

I was so into our conversation that I forgot to spell. Mistake number two.

From the backseat, H, who up until that point had been talking to his brother and to some imaginary friends (yes, we have several and they are dragons, just FYI), stopped chattering and practically screamed, “What did you say about P?”

“I said, darling child of mine,* that P acts like a vegetarian sometimes.”

Incredulous, “What?”

“P. He’s a bit of a vegetarian.”

“Mom, he’s way too little to take care of animals.You are crazy, silly.”

“Not a veterinarian, sweetie, a vegetarian. Someone who doesn’t eat meat.”

“Why don’t the people who take care of animals like to eat meat?”

“Okay, let’s back up. First, veterinarians, like your uncle M, take care of animals. The word veterinarian describes their job, not what they eat.”

Skeptically, as if I am about to punk him, H says, “Okay…”

“And then we have vegetarians. Those are people who don’t eat meat. They can have any job in the world. The word vegetarian just describes what they eat, not what their job is.”

“Okay. I see. Since Uncle M takes care of animals, he doesn’t like to eat them?”

After that I screamed, silently, in my head for a moment. Then I got the giggles. Who’s on first? anyone? Once I recovered, we re-reviewed the two words. Eventually he got the concept. I think.

I wonder…

:: Do you spell everything when you talk around your kids or do you just wait until they’re asleep to talk?

:: If you’re a vegetarian, what are your favorite resources: web sites, cookbooks, etc.?

*Some editorial liberties taken here.


  1. I love this. Particularly the confusion between vegetarian and vet :) We tend to have our bigger conversations once the kids are asleep, but we do have them when we are in the car, too. And, yes, we try to spell things out but that doesn’t always go as planned.

    As for vegetarianism, I am very intrigued as I hear more and more how much healthier it is…

  2. That actually made me LOL! *and I LOVE the editorial liberty*

  3. My kids would think I had lost that last bit of sanity I was clinging to, if I started spelling so they couldn’t understand me since they’re teenagers and can spell better than me. Well, not really. I was the runner up in the regional spelling bee contest in our state. I have fierce spelling skills. I do not, however, have fierce math skills. My math skills are abominable.

    And I love your son’s reasoning. i think it makes perfect sense.

    I am almost a vegetarian. I have been in love with veggies for as long as I can remember. My oldest girl is a vegetarian. My middle girl and I are border line and my youngest girl along with my husband are carnivores, huge carnivores. My best resource is my Italian gourmet cook mother in law. She lives by a Mediterranean diet which is a lot of fresh veggies and fruit, lean proteins, and real grains. So, sorry that source can’t help you. There are some great ones out there, though.

  4. Try Mark Bittman’s THE FOOD MATTERS COOKBOOK. It is not all vegetarian, but it does have some great vegetarian recipes. What I like about it is that it addresses eating food that is healthy.

    I made the best homemade granola for my kids that they love. It’s cheaper and better than the stuff you buy at the stores. And some of the best soup recipes. I made a butternut squash soup that was practically orgasmic…which says alot for a soup ;

  5. That sounds very much like a convo I could have with my son! Oh the joys of parenting!

  6. We try the spelling bit too, but it’s exhausting, isn’t it? Most of our conversations happen after 8pm…that is, if we haven’t lost all motivation by then!

  7. This reminds me of a banner moment when my niece was in preschool.

    One night at dinner something clicked and she said “You mean chicken is made out of CHICKEN?”

  8. Love the title of this and it brings back memories of confusing a few things like that when I was a kid. And I’m guessing there are quite a few “vegetarian veterinarians” out there, actually! 😉

  9. Ok this is too funny. Its so hard at times to really explain certain things to kids. We do spell as well but for some reason I often forget and it never fails they always hear me!

  10. I LOLed at the “vegetarian” mix-up. And I had a similar, bang-your-head-against-a-wall convo with Kate today because she is having a hard time with the days of the week and what day Craig gets home. I can only tell her so many times that today is Wednesday, tomorrow is Thursday and Daddy comes home on FRIDAY!

  11. Oh, I know this one.

    Who’s on first! Who!

  12. hahahaha!!! SO funny….I can see it playing out…like he’s workin’ it in his little head. We used to spell a lot of things…but our 2 oldest boys can spell. Sometimes, though, they are in on the whole spelling conversation, too.

  13. Oy…kids 😉
    My girlfriend just got a book called the Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. It has a bunch of vegetarian recipes. She made these “raw balls” for superbowl and they were to die for.

  14. I couldn’t handle being a vegetarian. I crave meat sometimes. I’m too weak to deny my cravings! We spell a little bit around Julia, but mostly we just talk about inappropriate things after bed time. She still goes to sleep at 7:45. Mom and Dad have lots of time for the grown up conversation. That has a lot of who’s-on-first too!

  15. Really cute Missy. I am a lifelong vegetarian and would love to send you recipes over e-mail. I’ve never known the taste of meat so I don’t know what I am missing. There are plenty of alternatives to get protein. You just have to find what works best for you. If you are interested in the recipes, just let me know.

  16. That’s pretty funny. We call vegetarians “presbyterians” in our house — and I couldn’t tell you why.

    Sounds like you all just coined a phrase. Niiiice.

  17. We can’t hear each other when our kids are awake. Huh? What? Our kids are so loud.

    I was a vegetarian for many years. Now, I do eat meat sometimes, but we have a few veggie meals every week. I’ll have to think of sites for you. I’m to the point of relying on scribbled recipes on messy notecards. LOL

  18. We are just starting to have to spell things around our oldest who is three. It would probably be easier to wait until she is asleep to talk about some things since she hates when we do that!

  19. Never, ever forget to spell words. A reader on my blog told me that they use the military phonetic alphabet, which gives them a few more years to have secret parent talks when kids are around. But it will take so much longer. For example, your blog name would be:

    Whiskey Oscar November Delta Echo Romeo Foxtrot Romeo India Echo November Delta


  20. Oh I miss the spelling-out days…now our oldest can spell, so we either have to speak super cryptically (at which point usually one of the adults in the conversation has no idea what the other is talking about) or save the conversation for later (at which point we usually forget).

    As for vegetarianism, we are not totally…but I do love to cook from the Moosewood series (I know, they are probably passe by now…but I still love those cookbooks!).

  21. It has been TOO LONG since I’ve been to your blog, Missy! This post was so entertaining. I never thought about how close those two words were to each other. It sounds like a conversation I would have at my house!

  22. Ha! We only spell things that will cause a riot, like “outside,” “park,” or “cookie.” I make them sit in the way back of the car so they can’t horn in on our conversations.

    My SIL was a vegetarian for years, then she got into clean eating, where she eats only natural foods, nothing processed, nothing she can’t pronounce on the ingredients list. She’s always been fit and tiny, but that girl got LEAN. It’s kind of expensive to do though. And I admit, I usually go for easy with the kiddos.



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