My younger daughter, M, twelve years old and change, announced about a month ago that she was giving up eating meat. No poultry, no beef. This is the kid who used to love all-beef hotdogs, nagged for chicken cutlets and hamburgers for erev Shabbat dinner, praised and critiqued my beef chili (more oregano, more rosemary, etc.). But she was also the child who ate small pieces of soft tofu, as a baby. The child who enjoyed veggie burgers, veggie bacon, and veggie sausages. My older daughter, J, turns up her nose to anything she realizes has tofu (sometimes I just don't tell her.)

My husband was more than a bit alarmed about this culinary decision that M made, and asked me to talk her out of it. But I told him that I was okay with it. I guess that all these years of my own internal food debate had rubbed off on the girl, and she made the choice to jettison meat. But not fish! She has been calling herself a pescetarian and has taken to scolding us and others for eating meat. Ahh, the ethics and habits of a righteous preteen.



So far, things have gone okay, I suppose. We have seen an uptick of fresh fish consumption, and she was happy to eat the leftover salmon as an after-school snack. (Couscous, she only ate part of that.) And I indulged her by buying at least five variations on soy beef and poultry. Microwaveable, naturally. Even in less-trendy parts of Brooklyn, such as our sedate Midwood, you can go to the local supermarkets, such as ShopRite and Stop N Shop, as well as the kosher mart Pomegranate, and find Kosher soy products galore.


But now Pesach is approaching, and approaching fast. Every year I have taken pride in the delectable turkey roast that I prepare for the seder that I host. So, nu, M will not eat turkey this time. Nope, not at all. I asked her if she would make an exception and she refused. So I will cook fish for her as well as the turkey (probably salmon). But what about her strong reliance upon these soy meats and poultry products? Fortunately we eat kitniyot for Pesach, so rice and beans and corn will be in heavier than usual rotation in our house. Fish and fish sticks will be on the menu, more than ever.

And I have to look for more recipes than I have in the past. What can I make that will make M happy now that leftover turkey just won't cut the mustard? I will have to be ever more creative with the veggie dishes. I will try making this paella dish that I eyed on the internet. I will make stuffed peppers, even though they are a tricky dish to make. I will throw up my hands and ask my vegetarian and vegan friends for ever more suggestions.

Our shul's rabbi told me that he is a pescetarian, and I want him to have a little talk with my daughter. I'm not sure what a rabbi-pescetarian should address with a young parishioner, but he will come up with something Pesach-friendly and preteen friendly. Why not?

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