It started all so innocently, we were driving down a country road, singing Britney Spears (Daughter Shaffer’s favorite), when we passed a small pasture of beef cattle. My daughter said, “Mom, cows!” and pointed at them as we drove on by.  In my infinite wisdom, I found this the golden opportunity to teach my daughter that not all cows are the same. “Those are beef cows,” I said.

A pause ensued and then, “Mommy, how do they get the beef out?”

Totally unprepared for this line of questioning, I paused and decided in a split second decision that honesty was best and said, “They kill them.”

Another pause from the back seat and then, “I’m never eating beef again.”

Sure, I’d be a bit disappointed too to find out that meat cannot be simply expressed from an utter like milk and maybe a little horrified that the peaceful looking animals in this picturesque field will be brutally slaughtered for us gluttonous, uncaring humans.

I went for logical approach: “Well, sorry honey, but same is true for chickens and fish.”

“Well, I won’t eat them anymore either.”

“Really, are you going to become a vegetarian? Because you’ll have to start eating a lot more vegetables young lady.”

“I’ll eat hot dogs.”

This time, I decided to keep my mouth shut and save the “where hot dogs come from” lesson for another day. Enough emotional scarring for one day.

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