Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Need Some Advice

For those of you who do not know me or why I am called the Cooking Lady, I will give you a condensed version (Yeah Right). Anyhow, I start homeschooling my 2 children in the fall of 2004. At that time Florida was about to be hit by not 1 but 4 hurricanes that year. But we dove in all the same. And in doing so, our group runs a homeschool co-op. Meaning, that parents volunteer to teach things, that know, or are comfortable with. I was happy in the kitchen. I dove in not having a clue what I was going to teach these guys.

Well, on sign up day my youngest class booked 29 children. So there would be no cooking in a kitchen. I had to teach these children about food but not cook. You want to talk about creative. We also learned that semester to put a cap on class count. I knew the kitchen I would be working in and I could be the judge on how many students I would allow in there. My call 100%. I learned quickly how many small fries could fit into a kitchen without burning, stabbing, or chopping one another.

I soon became affectionately called The Cooking Lady. They could not remember my name and it did not bother me in the least. So the Cooking Lady I became. And some children to this day still call me that instead of my real name. Many of thee older children now call me Miss Danette, but if they slip back and call me Cooking Lady, my head still turns.

Last year I went out on a limb and decided not to cook with meat. This was even before I toyed with thee idea of going vegetarian again. I wanted these children to see and realize that it was entirely possible to make and eat food that did not revolve around a hunk of dead flesh. They saw that it was possible and what...even tasty. They saw it and had to admit it was possible.

Now I want to go even further out of my box and show them vegan cooking. If Savanah and I can do it so can they. Would it mean modifications? You darn tootin' right, but here's where I need thee advice.

My homeschool group is a major Christian group. They claim to be secular, but there are maybe 3 of us who do not follow any religion or at least not the organized religion most of them do. With that said, many Christians believe that man was put of this Earth to rule over beast and do with as man sees fit. I of course do not believe that in the least. And if there is a God, I do not think he would approve of how we are treating our animals in the slaughter houses these days anyway.

So how do I explain to them without stepping on their beliefs that I do not think we were put on this Earth to slaughter animals, just for food. There are other options and my dinner table proves it every single night. I want to be able to answer them when they ask, "But what do you eat?" I know what I eat, but how to I put it on their level so they don't run back to Mommy and say, "The Cooking Lady says we are killing animals and we don't need to!" (which of course is the truth.

I want them to see that you can be a healthy non-meat eating person and have variety all the same. We do not have to give up flavor just because we give up meat. In fact I feel just the opposite. I feel I am expanding my palette in spite of leaving meat behind. I am trying things I never thought I would or ever heard of for that matter.

I know I have asked a lot, but think before answering, because I still want to come across as the nice Cooking Lady and not the wacko that is pushing her beliefs on to her students. Thanks for any and all advice.


Permission to Mother said...

7th day adventist are vegatarians so you can look into their philosophy. I don't know it, but I like that they are on my side.

Check into the Hallalulah diet. It's genesis based. Scripture says something along the lines of "fruit and seeds." The meat didn't come to after the flood.

Permission to Mother said...

One more thing.... disease came after the introduction of meat into the diet...

Freakmom said...

I think you are on the right track by thinking through what you are going to say. An art teacher in our area was fired last year after he turned Vegan and started talking to his classes about the evils of meat. It was wrong to do in a high school art class.

Unless the ask you directly, you could approach the vegan cooking classes as just another type of cooking your classes will be exploring. It definitely takes talent to make great food with fewer ingredients to choose from.

The age of the students might be a factor too. Older kids are ready to debate the pros and cons and make their own decisions. Little kids can be easily influenced by those they admire.

What about a note to the parents before the classes start explaining you are not promoting any particular lifestyle, but simply teaching them more healthy cooking?

The Cooking Lady said...

"It definitely takes talent to make great food with fewer ingredients to choose from."

And that is the biggest misconception out there. Trust me when I say my dinner table is loaded with plenty of food. And so much so that my husband ate dinner with us (he was not on a closing shift) and I had cooked a whole chicken, but due to the fact that my daughter and I had so many other options, he filled up on vegetarian foods, never having to touch the meat.

So the idea that vegetarians cook with fewer options is incorrect. In fact it opens us up to new foods one may have never tried due to the fact that meat was already on the plate. Now that there is an open spot on our plate and we need to fill it. So in goes a new grain, veggie, type of protein (which us needing more is another myth), such as tempeh, tofu, TVP, and the super grain known as Quinoa.

The possibilities are endless.

Permission to Mother said...

I tend to like Freakmom's approach of not offering an explanation if they don't ask. Like she says it could be a new catagory of cooking, "Indian cooking, Meditarranian cooking, Cooking on a budget, farmer's market cooking, etc... with no furthur explanation.

Thinking about your post, since I have heard of Biblical based diet, I THOUGHT vegetarian, was a Chrisitan thing and a spiritual principle. I did not know otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of the CVA? You should be able to find lots of good info here.


Anonymous said...

p.s. I think you're awesome! :)

Sherri said...

I prefer to look at my vegetarian, not vegan, diet as eating live food, food that still has life, sometimes even seeds are inside of it so that when I am finished with my apple, for example, I can go plant the seeds to grow a few apple trees. :) The majority of the food I consume can be grown from itself or is considered to be plant material. I tell people, adults and children, who ask or pry that I feel better being a vegetarian and I am hardly ever ill.