“We have a kids veggie burger?” (or “Yes, my child is a vegetarian.”)

**Warning:  This turned into much more of a rant than I intended!  I apologize to my omnivore readers!**

This is the question that I was asked at Red Robin not too long ago just after I ordered the kid’s veggie burger straight off of the kid’s menu.  It truly shocked me (although I suppose that it shouldn’t have) that this server (and apparently 4 or 5 others on duty that day, as she informed me) had no idea that there was a veggie burger on the kid’s menu.  This could only be because people were not ordering it for their kids, and the kids were certainly not ordering it for themselves.  The attitude seems to be one of “if there’s meat, I might as well get my money’s worth with that instead of a bunch of veggies”.  If this is your attitude though (which it most likely is not because you are here reading my vegetarian blog) I feel like you are doing yourself and your children a big disservice.

So if I haven’t said it before, I should probably say it now:  I am a vegetarian (ovo-lacto), and have been for over 18 years.  My daughter is also a vegetarian and will be as long as I can help it.  That’s just the way it is in this house.  My husband is basically a vegetarian when he is at home (which is rarely) because I refuse to have meat in the house (grilling outside is a different story), let alone have it cooked in my house.  I am not one of those vegetarian wives who cooks meat for her husband or company…my cookware, my rules (and meat just grosses me out).  When we have company for a meal, I try to be as accommodating as possible with likes/dislikes and allergies/intolerances because I know how it feels to be in someone’s home for dinner and not be able to eat.  It isn’t any fun.  Wow…that turned into a rant that I was not expecting.

So dear readers, what I really want to say is that I dislike the mentality out there that vegetarians are unhealthy or that we aren’t adventurous eaters or that we are weirdos trying to take over the planet.  I mean, all of those people exist, but it’s not because they’re vegetarians (and we all know that there are plenty of people who eat meat that fall into each of those categories 🙂 )  You can be an adventurous eater and be a vegetarian, and I would even say that being a vegetarian, or even making the effort to incorporate meatless meals into the general rotation once in a while, requires a sense of adventure that consistently relying on meat as the main source of protein just doesn’t.  Legumes, enriched pastas, eggs, tofu are just a few of the sources that I rely on to feed my family, and I am always looking for new ingredients.  I like to think that the food that I cook is good, healthy (for the most part) food that just so happens to not include meat.  I like to use ingredients that are easy to find (and not prohibitively expensive) because I am a mom and I don’t have a ton of time or money to waste at the store or in the kitchen.  I suppose that I will stop there, but if you’ve made it this far, tell me if my child is just not totally adorable as she eats her:

insalata caprese

…or her black beans and cheddar cheese

…and this is what she was served for lunch one day when she was not quite a year old at a new French bistro here in town.  She LOVED it!

So if you made it through all that…thank you!  I am (obviously) open to questions, comments, or further suggestions on the subject.  I am not an expert, I’m just someone living a lifestyle!

**In all honesty, I was pretty impressed with Red Robin’s kids menu.  In  addition to the choice of veggie or Boca burger for vegetarian kids, there is also a grilled cheese sandwich, a mini cheese pizza, a quesadilla, and spaghetti with marinara.  The choice of sides are also impressive:  mandarin oranges, steamed broccoli, baby carrots with ranch, apple slices, and melon slices all outnumber the one “bad” side…the famous steak fries.**

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tasha on February 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I totally agree with your point!

    Reply

  2. Um, can I just say that Pants is so freaking cute eating her vegetarian fare in those pics?! She’s a doll. I was a vegetarian for 9 years before I moved to Paris for a year and resided with a family who had a hunting lodge in Normandy (and therefore served a LOT of meat). I didn’t want to be rude and request special meals so I went over to the “dark side”. I don’t regret my decision but I can absolutely appreciate the desire to live meat-free.

    Reply

    • 🙂 I totally understand! It’s hard when meat is such an integral part of life and culture. There were times in France (especially when we were on the outings with our study abroad program) where I would tell the servers that I was a vegetarian and they would bring me a big plate of fish. Explaining what a “vegetarian” was sure did help my French vocabulary!

      Reply

  3. Posted by mysoulforsale on February 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Pants is totally adorable eating her num-nums, and I totally agree with the points you’ve made. I’ve got a seitan roast going in my slow cooker right now… preach it sister!

    Reply

  4. @mysoulforsale…wow!! You have taken it to the next level in my eyes! I still have so much to learn! 🙂

    Reply

    • Posted by mysoulforsale on February 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      I’ve been getting increasingly in to my slow cooker lately, after having taken a break from it. You can make a lot of inexpensive, super healthy, and very tasty things in there with very little effort. Robin Robertson has a couple of good vegetarian cookbooks, but I tend to spice things a lot more than she does in her recipes. You might want to check her stuff out. I’ve got Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker and Vegan on the Cheap. I really like both books.

      Reply

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