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Vegetarians... who eat fish.

(167 Posts)

I suspect this has been done before but, here goes...

We probably all know people who are 'strict vegetarians' apart from the fact that they eat fish. And chicken. And the odd cat, if they're especially peckish and it doesn't move fast enough.

Personally, I don't especially lose any sleep over what other people eat or don't eat. I'm a vegetarian, and like most that I know, consider it my personal preference not to eat meat, just as it is that of others to eat the stuff.

It does, however, rankle slightly when people think you are unreasonable or unusual to not eat fish when you are vegetarian: I've seen more my fair share of eye-rolling and 'well, my strict vegetarian friend eats fish, so it must be okay, you utter loon' - type attitude. A lot of people just don't 'get' it.

Anyway, what has made me start a thread on this topic, even though I doubt it's the first time it'll have been aired on here?

Today, my childminder (otherwise a lovely, lovely woman who I trust absolutely with my child's care) gave my daughter fish fingers because they were out at a fast food place, and she thought they were ok for vegetarians. Now, she thought she was doing a nice thing, but not only has my daughter now been given meat when I really wanted to avoid that happening for as long as possible, I am upset because we have a seafood allergy in my family- so there's potential for serious consequences.

PS: before anyone asks, yes- I did fill in a form listing dietary requirements, and mentioned not only that we were ovo-lacto vegetarians, but that it was really important to avoid any nuts as we have serious allergies in my family. I don't expect her to carry this around with her: the fact is, this prevailing attitude that fish is fine for veggies led to her making an assumption.

Really more of a rant/pointing out of an 'ishoo' than an AIBU, I guess..! smile

Remus- yeah, I really didn't want to rant at the childminder, so thought it would be better to offload elsewhere! grin

I agree about labels, too- it's just that, for convenience and the avoidance of great long pointless discussions about food choices (yawn) it's just easier to say 'vegetarian' - especially when I'm discussing the care of my daughter, as she can't actually speak for herself. She's only 18 months old.

I did actually write down specifics on the form (for those that have asked). I also remember discussing it with the childminder at the time.

Re: seafood/fish- my sister is seriously allergic to both/either. She was even worse as a child, so this could have meant blue lights to A&E. I will take from this the need to point this out now (in BIG WRITING!!!) on forms in future, even though she shouldn't be given it anyway.

And what's worse- apparently she loved them... the little bugger. <boak>

PS Spot on, Shallishanti smile

I tried bringing up my two as veggie - and then they discovered tandoori chicken! I always said that as soon as they were old enough to ask/show an interest I'd leave it up to them. I will never forget the sight of them aged around 5 and 3 greedily passing a bone to each other and sucking every morsel off it! smile

CecyHall Fri 18-Jan-13 20:11:11

I get annoyed by people who eat fish who say they are vegetarian. They're not. I get annoyed by people who say they are vegetarian but eat marshmallows, haribo and Worcester sauce.

I don't care way they eat, but like others have said, it confuses some people who then serve up animals to vegetarians ( I'm vegan, lots of people 'forget' that they've roasted potatoes in goose fat or brushed the veggie pie top with egg, it's important to me but clearly not to them).

OP - yanbu - and I can understand being cross with the childminder - I am a veggie and so is dh we have both been ovo-lacto veggies for over 20 years and so our children are as well. There is no history of allergies in our family though so I do not have concerns if meat or fish accidently get fed to dc (I obviously do not desire it though).

Dd1 had a tuna sandwich at a party once (it tasted like 'dirty water' apparently) and that did not trouble me, as I had to accept that when out of my hands the dc may well sample meat/ fish. I could stress about it or relax and make sure the children understood that meat and fish is not part of our diet, but other people do eat it and that is their choice. When the children buy and cook their own food in their own kitchen it will be up to them to choose.

Describing youirself as veggie and eating fish and/ or chicken is insania - don't bother labelling yourself just say 'I don't eat red meat' or whatever - if it is even questioned. As for describing yourself as veggie for convenience when eating out? I do not get that either - just look at the menu and ask questions if you want to know what is in a dish, being considered 'fussy' for questioning menu's is something I have become hardened to over the years. There are worse things happening at sea etc. smile

Once you have successfully ordered a meal in France and uttered the reviled phrase "Je suis Vegetarien" nothing a waiter can say with questioning eyebrows/ supercilious expression can bother you!

feministefatale Fri 18-Jan-13 20:16:20

No - fish is fish. It is the flesh of a dead fish. The word, 'meat' is used to describe the flesh of other animals, but fish are always classed as fish. Yes they are an animal but their flesh is not called meat when it is on sale in the supermarket. It's a matter of semantics.

Even if it were just semantics, then surely you wouldn't additionally have to spell out that you don't eat meat or fish. Because if you don't eat meat, you have no reason to eat fish.

MarianneM Fri 18-Jan-13 20:29:42

Funny, I seem to be the only one who found the OP rather precious and a bit silly for getting upset over her child being given fish fingers.

Some of the tone of the OP jumped out:

people who are 'strict vegetarians' apart from the fact that they eat fish - come on Mumsnet, where is your party line "what's it got to do with you?"

Personally, I don't especially lose any sleep over what other people eat or don't eat. - I should imagine not!

who I trust absolutely with my child's care - you really should rethink that now that she has given your child a fish finger!

my daughter now been given meat when I really wanted to avoid that happening for as long as possible - you'd think the OP was talking about the facts of life or something!

And the two mentions of allergies in the family when your child doesn't seem to have been diagnosed with any spells out your attitude!

When did we all become so prissy and particular about food?

It also interests me why the children of vegetarians always seem to be expected to be vegetarian also.

BTW I am a fish-and-veg eater, no meat. My children eat meat though, as long as it's free-range.

littleducks Fri 18-Jan-13 20:40:15

Don't write ovo-lacto vegetarian in future. Stick to
'Vegetarian-No MEAT, No FISH, No GELATINE, No COCHINEAL'

If nothing else it makes people remember (because they think you are nutyy wink) and check.

I think it doesn't help that the veggie option in places like McDonalds is fish finger, though if you ask nicely they will do you a happy meal with a cheese burger, no meat extra salad.

herladyship Fri 18-Jan-13 20:43:03

Q) Why are the children of vegetarians expected to be vegetarians??

A) for the same reasons that meat eaters children are expected to eat meat (& the children of Christians are expected to be Christian, etc etc)

LOTS of values & habits are influenced by parents!!

FWIW, I'm a meat eater with a veggie DD (age 12). She declared she was not eating "killed animals" when aged 3 & has never looked back smile

"Even if it were just semantics, then surely you wouldn't additionally have to spell out that you don't eat meat or fish. Because if you don't eat meat, you have no reason to eat fish."

I disagree. Lots of people choose to eat fish but not meat. Lots of people still think that fish isn't meat (that's why fasting days often became fish days, because fish was perceived to be okay on days when meat was not - it's why lots of people still see Fridays as fish and chip days) and lots of people don't follow 'rules' but choose to eat some things and not others. Which is why somebody who might not understand the term 'ovo-lacto vegetarian' might well need it spelling out to them.

When did we become prissy? There have been vegetarians for centuries, meat is not essential to our diets, there is often a religious, cultural or ethical basis for a vegetarian diet There are millions of vegetarians around the world .... hmm

In my case raising my children as vegetarian is the only sane choice when both parents have vegetarian since they were children. I would not know and don't need to know how to cook meat.

Being veggie is nothing new or faddy, though I heard the same lines being trotted out nearly 25 years ago when I became vegetariangrin (along with how 'pale' I looked, nowt to do with the fact I am red haired and freckly and that of course! Twats! sorryblush )

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 18-Jan-13 20:55:01

'vegetarians' who eat fish are better known as 'fussy eaters'.

Beamur Fri 18-Jan-13 20:55:42

We're an omnivorous family with a small child who since she could speak has refused to eat meat...our influences have not rubbed off! Our DD was about the age of yours herladyship
She would prefer not to eat fish as she hates the idea of eating animals (although she likes the way it tastes) so I describe her as 'not eating meat, but she will eat fish'. If she chooses not to eat fish when she is older that's her choice.
You're always going to have to explain what you do and don't eat because people make lots of different choices about what they eat for different reasons and don't fit into neat categories.

buzzybuzzybeeshoes Fri 18-Jan-13 21:03:51

I'd be fuming and really upset, and would find it hard to trust the CM in the same way.

MarianneM - the dad of a Muslim friend of my daughter's was really upset when she was given sausages at nursery. Was he being precious too?

This is really important to some people and emotionally loaded in the same way as smacking, CC and other big decisions you make as a parent are to other people.

MarianneM Fri 18-Jan-13 21:05:35

When did we become prissy? There have been vegetarians for centuries, meat is not essential to our diets, there is often a religious, cultural or ethical basis for a vegetarian diet There are millions of vegetarians around the world ....

I didn't say being a vegetarian was prissy smile

The OP had a prissy attitude.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 18-Jan-13 21:08:02

The classic definition of vegetarian is 'no flesh, fish or fowl'. Simple!

FarrahFawcettsFlick Fri 18-Jan-13 21:11:10

NotMyBigFatFault

"give her some wafer thin ham Barb" heh heh :-)

m - thanks for clarifying your point but in your post - it was not clear as you said when did we all get prissy about food so seemed to be aimed generally at dietary restrictions not so much at the op alone.smile

buzzybuzzybeeshoes Fri 18-Jan-13 21:13:20

I do think this can be a difficult one for meat and fish eaters to understand though. I'd genuinely rather eat phlegm than the rarest and most delicious steak in the world grin. So although logically the OP knows that her daughter's not going to come to any harm from eating fish fingers it' s hard to shake that visceral reaction iyswim?

TiggerWearsATriteSmile Fri 18-Jan-13 21:16:34

I was reading a blog recently.
It was a mothering type thing.

Anyhow, the author was making an issue of how difficult she was finding it making her vegetarian family's requirements heard at family gatherings etc.
She then posted suitable recipes which included tuna pasta bake.

I stopped reading after that.

TiggerWearsATriteSmile Fri 18-Jan-13 21:19:11

Sorry, my point was some people, even 'vegetarians' don't know what they are so it's hard unless you REALLY spell it out.

AmIthatWintry Fri 18-Jan-13 21:27:17

FFs Anyone who eats fish isnn't a vegetarian

Anyone who gives a vegetarian fish is an idiot.

prissy attitude my arse

AmIthatWintry Fri 18-Jan-13 21:27:41

FFs Anyone who eats fish isn't a vegetarian

Anyone who gives a vegetarian fish is an idiot.

prissy attitude my arse

AmIthatWintry Fri 18-Jan-13 21:28:21

....and I'm an arse for double posting grin

feministefatale Fri 18-Jan-13 21:37:21

Somethings need to be repeated amithat wink

birdofthenorth Fri 18-Jan-13 21:37:25

I was a vegetarian for 15 years but have been eating fish for five years. I never describe myself as vegetarian anymore but I do struggle with the alternative, rather than say "I do not eat meat, poultry or animal fats" I find it easier to say "I'm sort of a vegetarian although I do eat fish." I will often tick a vegetarian box if pre-ording menus etc but that's because I'd prefer to eat the veggie food (& that shouldn't lead to misconceptions as nobody need know I eat fish).

Fish is clearly not an a vegetarian option, no matter how many people are "pescatarians" like myself (not a term I use, tried it and no-one understands, they either have no clue or think it means I only eat fish!).

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