Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weedkiller: Part One

By the time Vanilla Wafer was born, my womb had been dry for four years previous. We were so excited to have that perfect mix of one boy and one girl. We reached deep into our Scandanavian heritage and gave him a Viking name. It was only a matter of time until he would pillage the neighborhood and wreak havoc on the nay-sayers.

Would. You. Just. Look. At. That. Face! That was way back in aught-five.

Now look at him:

And as Joseph! Be still my heart! (pictured here with his cute cousin Eliza). It was one short high school career ago that he was a little cuddly mutt!

So here's the thing: we wanted him to be a tough little viking, to grow up fast and strong like a weed, but that kid is downright tender-hearted. Now don't get me wrong, the testerone thing is evident when he just starts wrestling neighbor boys for no reason but to say hi. Other than that he is cautious, careful, and quiet. Plus he's four, and he's semi-eloquent. That basically means that when I was recently in a major hurry and got the kids a cheeseburger at MickeyD's, that after the fact we couldn't get in the car without him begging for a "Cheese Ham-bow-guhr" for a month straight. Not cheeseburger, a Cheese Ham-bow-guhr. Got that?

In a hurry to take Rainbow Girl to piano, and from the back seat comes the excited "Mooom, can I get a cheese ham-bow-guhr?"

On the way to Grandma's across town: "Mooom, can I get a cheese ham-bow-guhr?".

So I thought: protein, calories, growing boy, semi-eloquent english quotes, happy kids, no dishes...totally worth a buck!

But then one night I was carpooling Rainbow Girl's best friend. Her mom is my dear friend, works hard to pass good nutrition into her family, cans food 4 months out of the year, and recently did the "Daniel Diet" with her family (aka all natural foods, nothing processed).

So I'm throwing the burgers to the kids, yell back and ask if BestFriend wants something. She politely says no. We drop off the friend, get home, and then Rainbow Girl cautiously approaches me to ask me a question: "Mom" she starts timidly, "BestFriend told me that there is poo in the hamburger meat. That's why she doesn't eat those hamburgers. Is this true mom?".

Okay, wait just a second. What do you think? What would you say?

So after thinking for about 6.7 seconds, I dropped my head down so I could look her square in the eyes and said: "Yep. It's true."

"Mooom!" she starts, "Why didn't you tell me?!"

...and then an old argument I had heard once just popped out of my mouth. "Well, they make sure they cook it at a really high temperature so any bacteria that might be in there would get killed!"

Rainbow Girl says nothing. She is just looking at me, looking off into the void, wondering. I hurry off to my bedroom to fold some laundry and catch myself in the mirror. "What the hell did I just say to my kid?" I wondered to myself.

The thing is, The Mister of the House and I, we owned a movie store for 6 years. So the delicious film "Fast Food Nation" had been presented to me a few years earlier. Based on the book by Eric Schlosser, this film details the cultural, marketing, ranching, and farming fallout of the crazy consumption of the American Fast Food Meal. One scene in particular shows the Kill Floor where they process the beef. It illustrates how quickly they must get the meat through, that an occasional intestinal puncture would spill unspent shittake mushrooms onto the processing block. Minus the mushrooms part. It shows how they would be in too much of a hurry to shut down, throw out the contaminated carcass, and that instead they would just keep going and, um, incorporate all of the ingredients.

All this e.coli stuff that happens? That's from poo in the meat, right?

In the film, poo and e.coli is presented to a top dog of the industry, and in the film he counters back that the strict cooking regulations will kill any bacteria that may be present. THAT LINE, from THAT guy defending poo in the burger, is what came out of my mouth to my kid! Messed up.

So I came back to my kid and said sorry. I said it was gross and we should just stop getting those cheese ham-bow-guhrs and we went to bed. The weird thing is that THAT resolve to sign off the Fast Food burger was mine several years ago, after seeing the film "Fast Food Nation". I lasted a really really long time. The Mister tapped into his daring and risky Viking heritage and lasted a month before he ate a burger again.

And now this? Proud mom wanting a strong boy, and why had I forgotten my previous resolve? Damn them I think it's because of the Southwest Chicken Salad.


Angenette said...

Is it tough to have a big gap between them? I ask because #2 will be almost 4 when #3 arrives.

AtSmith said...

Awesome show. Viva local meat! Well, not "viva" I guess, since that means live. We're doing our darndest to eat ONLY local, grass fed beef / local meat that is raised and slaughtered humanely. It's SO much more difficult than expected. We need to work on creating more opportunities and demand for this ... somehow.

Nat said...

Oh, this was too funny. Can't wait for part 1. My husband refuses to eat at McDonalds. And I'm absolutely ok with that.

Wade and Marilyn said...

I still eat a hamburger once in a while--yuk!!!

paula said...

I try to be picky about meat but it's so much more expensive to buy organic/local/grass fed/etc. I think when we (consumers) demand better and stop buying the crap maybe things will change...but not until then....and I'm pretty sure that will never happen. I can actually go years without eating a hamburger/cheeseburger. When I crave it, we make them homemade. I've never seen this show....don't know if I have the stomach for it. What did it say about chicken nuggets? That's what my kid likes.

Rands Family said...

I guess that we have to tell our kids what they want to hear sometimes. LOL!

LGH said...

Amber, your total honesty with your children is admirable. Eating right just gets more and more complicated. For example, we've been having your spinach smoothie, loving it. I just heard a lecture saying that OJ is NOT good for a person; actually neither are oranges as they are too sweet. Bananas don't have enough fiber...yada, yada, yada. So tough this thing about food. But, I loved the telling of this story.

Monica said...

Yuck! I didn't know that about fast food hamburgers and now my stomach is churning. Are you going to buy a cow next?

Mrs. Olsen said...

No word about chicken nuggets. But the documentary Super Size Me does mention it more (this is a great flick). I loved the small look into school lunches in that film. ABC new show (friday nights) is called Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Episode 2 has a mind-numbing display about chicken nuggets, although it wasn't implied this was how the McD's made theirs.

Monica, we are not buying a cow. We don't have enough land to allow them to pasture and I'm NOT corn-feeding a cow!