The power of a buffalo wing

Once upon a time there was a vegetarian named Nick……

Nearly three years ago Nick declared he wanted to be a vegetarian. I asked if he was sure, truly believing it wouldn’t last more than a few days. I mean, he’s a kid, and at that time he was only ten years old and kids like food. He answered me confidently, like he was happy for a challenge and so our journey together began. I remember clearly telling him that while I wasn’t going to eat any meat (except for the occasional piece of fish), I would understand if he wanted to eat meat again. I wanted him to fully understand this was his decision and that nobody would make him feel badly if he changed his mind, especially not me. What I wasn’t prepared for was how people, especially family members, would attempt to make him feel badly for the choice of not eating meat. That’s definitely a post for another day.

I’m so proud of him for the choice he made and that he was confident in his decision and while his friends at the school lunch table would look curiously at his lunch, they never made him feel different or odd. He has some wonderful friends and that makes my heart happy. He’s healthy and fit and I’m proud that he realizes that it’s important to take care of your body and treat it well. Of course he’s still a child and asks for the occasional bag of potato chips or bottle of root beer, but he’s also more apt to ask for a salad as a snack after school rather than junk food.

A few weeks ago, he had a friend over for the night. I’m not allowed to call it a sleepover because that sounds too girly according to Nick. I say diary, you say journal. Potato potahto. Whatever. Anyway, I made some food treats while they watched a special pay per view event on television with Paul. Things like french fries and buffalo chicken wings. As soon as Nick smelled the wings in the oven I knew this was going to be interesting. I prepare meat very little in general, but since Paul loves it and Nick’s friend isn’t a vegetarian I felt it was fair to have something they’d find yummy, confident Nick would be fine with the other delicious choices I prepared for the evening. I pulled it all from the oven and he came over for a peek and a sniff. I could tell by the look on his face and the drool on the corner of his mouth that he was tempted to have just one chicken wing. Or maybe five. I offered him one and he walked around the entire kitchen with a look on his face like he was making a major life decision, you know, like whether to play a video game or watch a movie. Major stuff when you’re twelve. Then he told me yes, he wanted to have a chicken wing. I didn’t make any big deal of it and placed it on a plate just like for the other guys and brought it to him in the livingroom. Both of their jaws dropped, but nobody made him feel bad or said anything mean. Of course I wouldn’t accept anything less from either of them, but I certainly expected them to give him a little grief over this sudden urge to go back to the meat-eating dark side, which they did. And then he asked me for more chicken wings. He ate several and enjoyed every last bite and licked his fingers clean when he was done. Most importantly, he did it on his terms, without influence from anyone else and I support him in his decision and I’d support him if he wanted to stop eating meat again.

That’s part of my job. I’m his Mom.


  1. Welcome to the dark side, Nick! This actually made me laugh because, although I eat (and love) meat, I will not eat chicken wings. I love the flavors, but the process of eating those things totally grosses me out. Boneless wings FTW! 🙂
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