Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor



August 2011



Freakin’ ‘Tarians: 30 Days of Vegetarianism Continues

Written by , Posted in humor, life, Uncategorized

Bryan and I are now on our 12th of 30 days of vegetarianism, and things are mostly going swimmingly,  with only the occasional flailing of willpower. For him, the biggest temptation has been the fried chicken he’s so often confronted with (north-central Florida is very much the South); for me, it’s not so much been the bacon as it’s been the seafood (Florida is very much a peninsula). But really, the biggest obstacle hasn’t been the mild temptations or even the dining out– it’s the kids.

Our 12-year-old son is a real meat-and-potatoes guy. When he was in preschool, he so loved his Michelina’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes frozen dinners (lay off– we were young parents) that he composed a song: Meatloaf and meatloaf and MAAAAASHED potatoes! So that coupled with the fact that he’s a wretchedly hormonal tween means he’s taken our 30-day veg-out with all the grace of a cat in a rain shower.

Our nine-year-old daughter has secretly been enjoying the switch-up, but she makes a good show of disgust and defiance because she will go to great lengths to be contrary to me. I resorted to soy crumbles far earlier in the game than I’d intended, and my admission of this fact brought on a delightful torrent of “that’s what she said” and “if you know what I mean”:

I didn’t tell the children they were eating spaghetti with meat sauce; if they made assumptions, that would be their problem. But I also didn’t tell them they were eating spaghetti with soy-crumble sauce. They ate their dinner and even thanked me for and complimented me on it. I was so pleased– and then hubris ruined the whole event. I let them know that what they’d just so genuinely enjoyed was not meat but veggie. The nine-year-old led a chorus of “Eeeew!” and “Groooss!”

A few days later, after observing her dad pass up not only fried chicken but also crock pot meatballs at a party, our seven-year-old daughter suspected that perhaps he was under duress and snuck him this note of encouragement:

Even the little ones have it in for us. The leader of our two-and-a-half-year-old identical duo began offering Bryan fake food, to which he responded within the confines of his new identity:

“Want hot dog?”

“No, thanks. I’m vegetarian.”

“Want chicken?”

“No, thanks. I’m vegetarian.”

“You freakatarian?”

And, as the follower twin is wont to do, she began imitating her sister so that over the course of several days Bryan became bombarded with precocious toddler accusations and taunts. Soon the word had morphed into “freakin’ ‘tarian” with an audible pause between the fragments that perfectly echoed the derision with which they were spoken. I managed to avoid association with the term for a while, but Bryan soon tired of being the twins’ only object of contempt and tipped them off.

I’ll get to escape the taunts and tantrums in less than a week when I go to a conference in Maryland with some fellow church members. But I’ve already made plans to be thoroughly pissed off at any of my travel companions who dine on the state’s famous crab cakes without me.

Freakin’ ‘tarian.


Thanks to everyone who voted on the series’ name last week. I’m pleased to announce that 63% of you share my brand of humor– “30 Days to Beat the Meat” was the winner. I’ll probably use “The 30-Day Veg-Out” if this bad boy becomes an article, but we can all have a good laugh with the other title right here on the blog.

So tell me, how badly am I going to be missing out on those Maryland crab cakes?

And– please, it’ll make me feel better– what awful names do your kids call you?

  • http://rasjacobson.com Renee Schuls-Jacobson

    Oh baby, you are gonna miss it, bad. How are you going so long without? #IYKWIM.

    Love the note from your daughter. She’s sassy! And a carnivore.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I already told ya– I’m resorting to fake meat. #IYKWIM

  • http://www.alise-write.com Alise

    Oh man, that letter was BRILLIANT. Love it!

    I don’t know that my kids have called any names, but I was guest posting for a bigger blogger a while ago and was pretty excited about it. My oldest’s response? “Cool! Now everyone can see how lame you are!” (Which sounds way worse when it’s not followed by laughter or said with a huge grin and in the context of numerous discussions about how dorky blogging is.)

    And in the bad parenting category, we let our oldest watch Zombieland with us a few weeks ago, which she loved, and which is RIFE with profanity. But you know, she goes to public school, so she’s aware that the f-word exists. I’m okay with all of that. Anyway, she loved (!) the scene where Woody Harrelson’s character wants a Twinkie. And she posted that scene on her Facebook page. Complete with the, “I want a fuckin’ Twinkie!” line. Where she’s friends with my parents. And my pastor’s wife.


    • http://rasjacobson.com Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson

      Holy fashizzle! I still haven’t even seen Zombieland! Don’t tell Clay! 😉 Glad to know about the f-bombs. Maybe good to watch while Monkey is at camp.

      • http://www.alise-write.com Alise

        Yeah, it’s pretty chock-full of f-bombs. And all kinds of zombie gore. But it’s crazy funny. The whole cast is just brilliant and it has the best cameo EVER. If you liked Shaun of the Dead, you don’t want to miss Zombieland.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I love your kid. “I want a fuckin’ Twinkie.” Awesome.

  • http://www.JanetOberholtzer.com Janet Oberholtzer

    Love this post! Great writing!
    Love your kids!!
    My kids have called me almost every name in the book at one time or another … and I still cook meat for them, even though I’ve been a “freakin’ ‘tarian” for over a year. Gotta love ’em!

    Crab cakes are crap! You’ll be fine without them.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thanks, Janet! Just keep telling me about the crab cakes next week when I start whining…

      • http://reconcilingviewpoints.wordpress.com reconciling viewpoints

        I’m tellin’ ya, don’t listen to these people that tell you these crab cakes are so awesome… pshhhh….

        Any state that tries to draw tourists by promising you’ll get crabs… not somewhere you want to go! Avoid getting the crabs at all cost, #IYKWIM! Bryan really wouldn’t like that! 😉

        Have a great trip!

  • http://www.facebook.com/carey.gregg Carey Schmitz Gregg

    Oh, honey, I wish I could lie to you, but you know that I can’t. I was born and raised in Maryland. You will be missing out. Badly. Sorry. If you come to Texas after your 30 days are over, I vow to make you authentic Maryland crab cakes myself. Made ’em earlier this week (the same day you posted about your realization on FB) and thought of you. Come visit–I’ll cook for you! 😉

    Other than that, you will LOVE Maryland. What part of the state will you be visiting?

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Texan crab cakes– perfect.

      The conference is about 20 miles outside of Baltimore, but I’m not sure I’ll see Maryland so much as the inside of one of its churches. 🙂

      • http://www.facebook.com/carey.gregg Carey Schmitz Gregg

        Ah, but they won’t be Texas crab cakes. I was born in Baltimore. Raised by Baltimorians. My mother, my siblings, and I are the only ones in Texas. Everyone else is in Maryland. You would come to Texas for Maryland crab cakes–my Granny’s recipe. MUCH better than in any restaurant in MD, I promise!!

        Enjoy your conference. You can do it!

        • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

          I know it would be the real deal. Plus, a meet-up with you would be awesome!

  • http://gravatar.com/lowsaltfoods pravinjeya

    Hey Tamara, Just wanted to say congratulations for getting to day 12. I know how difficult it can be when the world and its uncle is eating meet. Keep up the good work – at day 24, u might get another congratulations from me, what an incentive.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Love the incentive! Thanks, Pravin!

  • http://readhanded.blogspot.com Julie

    I’m usually just a lurker here, but I saw in your post today that you live in North Central Florida? I didn’t realize that! I live in St. Augustine and I’m trying to picture what civilization is in North Central Florida, and I’m really not coming up with much… Are we talking like eastern panhandle, Tallahassee area? 😉 And by the way, I love the note from your daughter. Adorable.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thanks for de-lurking! I live in Gator country. 🙂

      • http://readhanded.blogspot.com Julie

        Ah. One of those. 😉

  • http://silly-bear.com sarahaskins

    I hate the be the bearing of bad news, but the Maryland crab cakes are not to be missed.

    My kids don’t necessarily call me names, but I do get the eye rolling, sighing, whining mess. This occurs when I tell them–go read a book, go write a story. I’m so mean because I won’t let them rot their brains with TV.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Gosh, you’re awful.

  • Anonymous

    Ha ha ha! Very funny and entertaining post! Have fun with the remainder of your freakin’ tarian days and, is it OK if you just inhale the aroma of the crab cakes?

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Mom, you don’t have to keep hiding your identity. 😉 Yes, I can definitely inhale, but that might just piss me off more.

  • Logan

    Don’t some vegetarians still eat fish and seafood? I’m trying to help you out here. 🙂 I do not think I would have the willpower to resist. I ate crab for lunch and dinner last time I was in Maryland. Just had to!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      If I were doing this as life-change, I’d definitely have to go pescatarian. But since we committed to 30 days of total vegetarianism, I can’t do it. But I want to. I really do.

  • http://asalinguist.wordpress.com limr

    Hey, I was also in north central Florida in college (Go Gators!) when I first cut out beef and pork. It wasn’t until grad school that I stopped eating poultry, so I didn’t have to resist the chicken dishes like you do. In fact, I don’t know if Skeeters is still in Gainesville, but it was one of their burgers that put me off red meat forever. So, the south can be hard for vegetarians, or it can make it easier to be veggie! 😉

    Crab cakes. Well, like Logan said above, I am one of those ‘vegetarians’ who still eats some seafood, so I would eat a crab cake if I wanted to. It’s hard to say if you would be missing out. A truly good crab cake can be delicious, but just because you’re in Maryland doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a good crab cake. There’s very often too much breading and other stuff and not enough crab. In general, I tend to think they’re overrated.

    I don’t have kids but I got plenty of ribbing from my family when I first became vegetarian. My mother was visiting a few months after I started and she bought about 10lbs of meat for me. “Just in case.”

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      10 pounds of meat! I would die. So gross.

  • http://peculiarqueer.wordpress.com/ cubbie

    “flailing of willpower”

    love. it.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      *snort!* Thanks. When I said “swimmingly,” I just imagined these arms splashing around in the water grabbing for fried chicken and shrimp.

  • Mom

    hahaha – didn’t intend to hide my identity… it just wouldn’t let me reveal myself for some reason! ; P

  • http://www.beautifull-girls.com Regina Valenter

    that’s it, great experience…

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara


  • Anonymous

    lol, Mari! You must submit that note to Passive Aggressive Notes.com. Awesome.


    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Of course I had to go see if that was a real site. And of course I got stuck looking at it for far too long. Thank you, Jenhed.

  • http://reconcilingviewpoints.wordpress.com reconciling viewpoints

    On nicknames, my kids have a few for me, but I gotta ‘splain — my family has a history of making up silly nicknames for each other. My dad was good at it, and I’ve sort of carried on the tradition since the kids were little.

    Given the normality of throwing nicknames around, I’ve had my share thrown at me by the kids. My oldest (18), who’s had a “six-pack” since he was 10 reminds me now and then that “you’re a fatty”, something he swears he’ll never become.
    I will call my youngest “scoobus doobus” to which he’ll reply with “dadus” or occasionally the “fatus dadus”, depending on his mood. My 15 yr old likes to drop to his deepest baritone (which is getting pretty deep) and say “the hairy man speaks!” when I start to address him and his brothers.

    Fun stuff…. mostly…..

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      That is adorable. I especially love “fatus dadus”– sounds so Latinate.

  • http://brynnloves.wordpress.com Brynn

    This cracked me up.
    Loved the note your daughter wrote!

    About the name-calling, I’ll get back to you on that one in 10 years.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara


      Yeah, enjoy being a nice, normal person while you can– someday your kids will tell you otherwise.

  • lucieloves

    Hilarious post! I have the opposite problem. 4 days ago, my 10 year old son announced that he was vegetarian. I am quite partial to bacon and my mother’s Maui Ribs and my husband is a born and bred Calgarian (land of Alberta beef), but we’ve agreed to try it as a family for 1 week. He’s sticking to it so far – at golf camp they served (only) hot dogs for lunch and he ate the bun with grated cheese topping. Good luck on your challenge!!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I love that he didn’t cave, even at camp!

  • http://randomlychad.com Chad Jones

    My wife just “made” us buy Morningstar patties, and aside from the voluminous quantities of excessive flatulence, they’re quite good. Better than Boca, even.

    But going to work the next day was hard in the sense that I crop-dusted the entire freakin’ day!

    Sorry about that everyone at work!

    Freakin’ ‘tarians!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      That was the confession to end all confessions. Ha!

  • http://thebakerbee.wordpress.com thebakerbee

    Best of luck with the whole no meat thing. I’d last at least 29 hours I think.

    My kid isn’t old enough to call me names… he’s 1. At this point, he calls everyone Dadda. I should probably consider that an insult.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Hahaha! So cute.

  • http://alymae.wordpress.com Alyssa Santos

    That note! Too funny! I received a letter to the tooth fairy (that she knew was actually me) that was scathingly penned with accusations– seems the tooth fairy is unreliable at our house… Your kids are good sports, though, and passive aggressive note it may be, but at least they feel free to communicate. As for the fake meat — I’ve tried and just don’t get it. It will never taste like the real thing. But, Maryland should be there for a while, so if this experiment leads you to NOT become permanent, then there will be plenty of crabcakes waiting for you.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      “Maryland should be there for a while.” Great perspective, thanks!

      Oh, and the Tooth Fairy is totally unreliable at our house, too. The nine-year old has had to cover for her in front of the 7-year old on more than one occasion. :-/

  • http://femmefuel.wordpress.com femmefuel

    Thank you for the laugh, Tamara. I needed that! I want to hang your daughter’s note on my refrigerator!


    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Ha, thanks! I would too if my refrigerator were magnetic. 🙂

  • http://christiannoob.wordpress.com The Christian Noob (n00b)

    Check out this website. I got hungry just looking at it.

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  • http://breadtobeeaten.wordpress.com breadtobeeaten

    Hysterical. Your kids are amazing.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thanks! They really are. 🙂

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