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Conversation of the Day

Conversation of the Day

November 12, 2007

Rob and I were talking over dinner tonight about how we are buying half a cow and a pig this year from a local farmer (animal grower?) who raises them on a natural grain organic diet, blah blah blah. We have been talking about it for a couple of years, but every year things have conspired against us. I am not sure what things exactly other than our inability to pick up the phone and make a call. But this year we got our act together.

My 4 yr old daughter suddenly piped up, “But Mommy, where are we going to KEEP our pig?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Oh, I know we could make a little house outside for him!” she helpfully said.

“Or we could keep him in little packages in our freezer!” I suggested.

Poor child, she just has no clue.

Posted by Chris @ 10:55 pm  

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  1. Karen Vogel says:

    My friends occasionally raise pigs (in their suburban backyard!) and then have them slaughtered in the fall. Their kids are totally into it - they name them, they feed them, and then, when they’re eating some pork or ham or whatever, they’ll say, “Which one was this?”

    Okay, so it’s a little weird.

  2. Chandra says:

    Yummy! I’m so jealous. We’ll be butchering another deer this year but I’d love some au natural beef and pig. Enjoy!

  3. Deborah says:

    My husband’s family are farmers in Texas. When the girls were small and his parents would send us a side of beef, I’d say “humm, I wonder if we are eating Peaches or Cookie?” The girls failed to see the humor. My mom-in-law would name all her cows and hated to eat them. I, on the other hand, loved the home grown beef. Chandra, I’m jealous of your “deer”, I’d trade beef for venison any day.

  4. hokgardner says:

    That’s like the time my daughter asked what chicken was made of. I said, “Well, they’re chickens.” She looked aghast and said, “You mean walking around chickens???” I did my best not to laugh out loud until later when I was retelling the story.

  5. BethanyWD says:

    You know what they say, “Never name something you plan on eating!”.

  6. Kini says:

    We have been doing that for a couple of years now. It is so nice to have an ample supply in the freezer.

    Your story was so funny…reminded me of the first year we did this. Hubby convinced his mom we were keeping our pig in the pantry…it was so funny when she came over and expected to find an actual living pig… instead of a freezer with a drawing of a pig on it! :)

  7. Not The Mama says:

    Hahaha. Poor kid.

  8. Becky says:

    Gah, my mom once bought me a lobster for one of my single digit birthdays. I named him Spot and loved him dearly…until my mom cooked him for dinner that night.

  9. Marti says:

    My sister and her husband are ranchers (animal growers), and they name their cows things like Hamburger, T-bone, Sirloin, etc… Except for one calf that was born on Thanksgiving day which they named Turkey. My family has some serious issues.

  10. Jen @ amazingtrips says:

    Oh, this brings back memories. When I was a child, my parents bought a cow and named it “Hamburger”. My mother took us on a drive once to the farm so we could see our cow and I was so excited that we had livestock. And then one night, we were sitting down eating dinner and I said “Yay! Tacos!!” and my mean older brother said, “No, Jenny, this is HAMBURGER!” There’s no better way to traumatize a 6-year old like telling them they are eating what they *thought* was the family pet.

    He’s also the sibling that woke me from a sound slumber on Christmas Eve to point out mom & dad placing presents under our tree AND he confiscated baby teeth that I had hid under my pillow and put them in my lunch box. Not to mention the countless times he’d loosen the top of the salt shaker before it was passed to me, or lock me in the bathroom that he had me convinced was haunted.

    It’s no wonder I twitch…

  11. stacie says:

    I also have a farmer friend: They named their cow “Supper.”

  12. Anitz says:


    i would have thought that half a cow and half a pig would not feed your growing family for long…

  13. sue says:

    Ha! My four year old FINALLY connected the chicken we eat with the chickens that say cluck the other night. She thought they just shared a name. She refused to eat the rest of her dinner and frowned at us all night, occasionally muttering things under her breath.

  14. kim at allconsuming says:

    OK, for starters, someone must be held accountable for just how it has come to pass that I have not been made aware of your blog and therefore your world years ago. Someone must pay.
    Secondly, the visions I’ve got of a half a pig (be it half from the front to the middle or the middle to the back or cut down the middle lengthways so the poor pig trying to stand but falling over) have indicated to me just how sick my sense of humour is and that perhaps it is my watching of old Simpsons episodes that needs to be curtailed rather than that of my (numerous) offspring.

    I’m seriously ‘tsk-ing’ at the computer screen and trying to back read your entire blog in like 10 minutes.

  15. Brigitte says:

    Poor kid ;-)

    I’m waiting for my own daughter to make the connection between the neighbor’s cute lambs we visit in the Spring, and the cooked lamb we eat the next Fall and Winter.

  16. jen says:

    My son (now 2) used to go shopping with me to the supermarket (until I had another child, and discovered internet grocery deliveries!). Because my mum has chickens, one of his first words was ‘chickit’. As my husband is a veggie (mainly due to chickens!), he has never seen one cooked other than in casseroles. Aged around 15 months we went to the supermarket and he kept saying ‘chickit, chickit!’ very excitedly. I looked around - and sure enough there was a big oven with a load of rotisserie chickens on a spit. HOW he connected these lumps of meat to a feathered chicken I will never know!

  17. Lisa says:

    We do this, too. Except we go in with another family and buy the entire cow because it’s even cheaper. I end up with organic beef (including prime rib!) that’s cheaper than ground beef full of antibiotics and chemicals at the grocery store. It’s awesome.

    Our poor kids haven’t figured it out either.

  18. Lovebabz says:

    I appreciated this today. I am not into pigs–but this was funny!

  19. Kristine says:

    We bought about a half a cow in April for the 2 of us. We went in with a cousin, and he took 1/4 of what we got. It was a little more expensive for some cuts and a little cheaper for others had we bought everything indiviually. But it is seriously the best meat I’ve ever had - so much better than I ever found at the grocery store. Totally worth it.

    When I was little my sister raised turkeys. We were not allowed to name them. But I was delighted when I found out we were eating the little mean one that chased me around the yard.

  20. peepnroosmom says:

    That sounds tasty.
    The butcher we used to get our half a cows from got too old to do it any more. Now we just get fresh sausage from him. I really miss the natural beef though. The grocery store’s beef has no taste at all.

  21. Sarah L. says:

    Are you prone to power outages in your area? If so, make sure you have a working generator so you don’t lose a freezer-full of meat if the power goes out.

    We had the non-working generator plan in place at our house for the last couple of years; my husband just got the generator repaired so I feel better about stocking the freezer full of stuff.

  22. freeda says:

    Seriously once you do it, you’ll never go back. We switched from a regular butcher to an organic one and the meat is just amazing. It’s nice knowing it’s not filling my kids with pesticides or hormones, too.

  23. Ruth H says:

    I watched an episode of Jon and Kate plus Eight on TLC last night. They took the whole family to an organic farm to buy a half a cow. I was totally surprised that none of the three year olds asked “which half?”
    They had a great time, though.

  24. Mommy mommy says:

    You are going to need more than that!!! Our family uses 1/2 a cow and we only have 4 kids, and they are all under 7. Maybe you should get a cow and a half!!!

  25. Candy says:

    I was thinking along the same lines as your daughter. It wasn’t until you said “freezer” that I realized you were buying them dead.

  26. Melissa says:

    Our vet has a farm. He feels it is a good thing for all of his kids to slaughter and clean an animal. I could just never do it! Give me cellophane wrapped packages and delusions any day!

  27. Garnigal says:

    Growing up on a farm, everything is just named Delicious. Although I was deeply offended when the neighbours named one of their dairy cows after me. They put a sign up over her stall and everything.

  28. Katie1976 says:

    My 7 yr old son has been figuring out what part of the animal certain meat comes from. One day he asked what part of the chicken does chicken nuggets come from. I told him “Well, honey, when I tell you to protect your nuggets when wrestling with the older cousins , what do you protect?” He said “You mean I’m eating Chicken Nuts!” My husband said I was sooooooo cruel. It sure the heck cured his need for Mickey D’s all the frickin time! I so love being a nurturing loving mother ;)

  29. Katie says:

    My parents used to do this when I was a kid. Honestly I hated steak until I was into my mid-twenties and learned that all steaks don’t have to be just this side of burnt.

  30. Kara says:

    I love the part when my kids started asking what, when, where, and how the animal on our dinner table was raised, slaughtered and processed in the middle of eating it. After many, “We can talk about this AFTER supper”, I finally could swallow my bite of sausage. Don’t get me started about the questions of whether it is chicken, beef, pork, or something daddy killed…”Daddy, is this bambie you killed, or just a cow?”

  31. Heather says:

    I remember the first time my son realized that hamburgers came from cows. I thought it would through him into a vegetarian state, but it did not. He still thinks cows are cute, and he still eats hamburgers.

  32. Karly says:

    And now she’s a vegetarian. ;)

  33. Amy says:

    I grew up in South Dakota, and never had meat that didn’t come from a local farm (or my grandparents) until I was in college - needless to say, I don’t so much eat meat anymore (can’t stand the commercial meat).

    I need to look into getting my chickens from NOT the store.

    (Also - during the chicken butchering time, if the grandkids were good, grandpa would let them run around after he chopped the chickens’ heads off. It was kinda awesome.)

  34. angelawd says:

    Which half are you getting? :)

  35. janet says:

    Just don’t raise any livestock for food at home. (From what I have read about you and animals I seriously doubt this would ever happen.) When our kids were small we raised a pig and numerous chickens in our semi rural yard. This was a huge mistake.

    I found that even now when cooking both pork and chicken there is a “barnyard” odor that hits you. It is early in the cooking process. You’d never notice unless you have lived with it. UGGGGGG DO NOT raise any animal for food in your yard!

  36. Ani says:

    The Scene: Christmas with the far-away, visit-once-a-year family. Stepfather decides to donate one whole roast pig to the party.

    Me: Freak out, our 4-yr-old has never had the pork-chops-come-from-Wilbur conversation.

    Son: Looks at table sagging under whole roast pig (head, ears, tail…). Walks around it. Says…”Wow, that’s a big pig. When’s lunch?”

    And eats a whole plateful. Kids, they’re amazing.

  37. Grace says:

    They just had an episode related to this on “Jon & Kate + 8″ last night! They bought half a cow’s worth of meat from a gentleman who had organically raised cows & chickens.

  38. OMSH says:

    Every year we used to slaughter two calves on my grandparent’s ranch and the whole family would take part in the cutting/packaging. From age 7 on I was in charge of putting through chunks of beef to make “worms” (ground beef), weigh it and plop it on the packing paper for someone else to package and mark.

    I remember it being a really good time and we always knew where our meat came from, what it was fed, what quality it was, etc…

    Of course it is deer season, so I’ll have venison soon too.

    But not pig - hmmmmm piiig!

  39. Angella says:

    We get beef from a local rancher and it is SO worth it. It tastes better, cooks better, everything.

    You will never go back. :)

  40. Fina says:

    I want that. Where do you find this?

  41. Molly says:

    That sounds like a great idea. I know in some places people buy “shares” of an animal, and get their milk, etc. that way. One question: when you said that this cow is on a “natural grain” diet, did you mean it was grass-fed? I have a friend who works on the enviornment and agriculture, and she was convincing me to go grass-fed for my beef, but it’s hard to find. No hormones and grass fed would be awesome.

  42. carrie says:

    We do this every year too — you will be amazed at how much better it tastes, besides all the health benefits!

  43. xianfern says:

    We had 2 pigs when I was in the first grade.. nasty digusting pigs, that my sister and I adored. So much so that we named them after our favorite boys. Imagine the horror when instead of Todd and Toby in our backyard, we now had packages upon packages of bacon and pork chops! Oh to be that naive..

  44. Danielle says:

    I have the sick kids who know what animal they are eating and still eat it. We were just talking about this very subject at the grocery store this weekend. We had visited a friend of mine that has cows and chickens. The next day we were buying chicken at the local grocery store. They were really cheap, so we bought four of them. This lead to a whole discussion about food that the kids really seemed to enjoy. I think we scared a man that was ease dropping but whatever.

  45. Kristina says:

    I’m thinking of buying chickens for the eggs, but not to eat. I’m afraid that I (on this issue) may join the ranks of the seven/eight year olds who happily munch on store bought chicken but killing one themselves or knowing someone who killed one is all too gruesome. ( P. S. I know this is silly )

  46. Morgan says:

    I’ve been reading you’re blog for a while. I just wanted to come out of “lurking” and say that I think you are hilarious, and your kids are adorable.


  47. single mom with tiny tot says:

    oh, dear. don’t let her watch charlotte’s web…

  48. Amy says:

    Oh, did you watch Jon & Kate Plus 8? They were at the local farm buying half a cow and taking the tour of the farm and she called one of the baby calves “squishy”, and I thought ‘aha, you’ll be squishing that one into hamburger patties next year when you come back to buy your next half a cow’.

  49. Melissa says:

    Yep- we ate “my” cow ‘Charlie’ when I was 5. My grandparents were raising him….little did I know it was so we could eat him :)

    I guess it’s a good life lesson (not sure about what)???? :)


  50. genpoco says:

    When I was 10 my “pet” Muggins the cow disappeared. I asked where it was. My father, being the VT farmer he was stated: “In the freezer”. Still not catching on I asked: “Isn’t it too cold in there for her?” Dinners were pretty grim after that.

  51. Girlymom4 says:

    We have been having similar conversations here since my husband is going hunting. My oldest is 6 and just recently found out a hamburder is cow to which she said…”why does the cow taste so good mom?” Not quite sure how to reply to that…hmmm

  52. mama's got moxie says:

    awwwwwwwww… poor baby is probably traumatized. especially since she was ready to make him a little house.

  53. Angel says:

    mmmmm… sirloin!

    If you want an interesting read about our food and where it comes from, read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” It is very eye opening when it comes to the antibiotics and hormones that are put into our supermarket meat. Check it out.

  54. Kimberly says:

    My mom does this. She shares with my gramma. They put their half a cow (my term….apparently the “correct” term is “side of beef”) in the freezer. Funny. They EACH have to have a second chest/standing freezer to do this. And my mom asks if I want to participate, me with my “one-butt” kitchen and only my fridge freezer. But it is good if you can do it, and everytime I go visit I go shopping in my mom’s freezer and boy, is it yummy meat!

  55. Carola says:

    About pigs being killed in backyards…I just read it and thought of your post. :)