Recently, I was out with clients – a nice young couple looking for their first home together. We saw something they liked and wanted to move forward on, and I suggested we go to the local pub to put together an offer. When we sat down, they looked at the menu with uncertainty. I told them the fish tacos were great if they weren’t sure what to order. At that point, they told me they were vegan – and they settled on nachos and guac. And beer. We all had a beer. I was quite impressed with this young couple – it takes a lot of discipline to manage a restricted diet, so I was definitely inspired that kids that were nearly half my age were somehow managing it. They told me about how much better they felt since going vegan, and I was truly inspired.
See here’s the deal – I’m open-minded to the whole vegan thing. I am not a super-picky eater. I love food. If you cook it for me, I will eat it. Therefore, I feel like honestly, if I had the time or personal chef, I could perhaps go about 29 days out of the month being vegan (as long as I could find a good cheese substitute). But by day 30, I would definitely cave and head out for some street meat and quality chicken nuggets. The first available food truck would win. But I digress….
Here’s the real challenge with any attempt at vegan life: my kids are picky as fuck when it comes to food, and whenever simplicity is remotely possible in my life – especially during mealtime, I need to take the path of least resistance. There’s no fucking way tofu and beans would fly with them. I explained this to my young clients – I would be open minded enough to try being vegan, but my kids definitely would not. I shamelessly admitted to them at that point, that Chicken Nuggets were a staple in our house. I feed the kids as many healthy choices as possible to appease their picky-ass palettes, but at least once a week, we go for the nuggets, because everyone wins with Chicken Nuggets. No arguing, no
counterterrorist negotiating, just a peaceful meal.
What they told me next made my jaw drop.
“They make Vegan Chicken Nuggets you know! They taste just as good as Regular Chicken Nuggets!!”
What?? Seriously??? Like am I the only person on the planet who didn’t know this?? What kind of voodoo is this? During the next few days, I tried to process in my brain, this whole concept of Vegan Chicken Nuggets. I still cannot seem to wrap my head around it.
I figured before doing a major substitution for such a staple in our house, that I’d try a simple substitution. Instead of making my kids their favourite chicken noodle soup, I decided to substitute chick peas in place of actual chicken. And how do you think that went over?? Like a lead balloon. That meal ended really fucking badly – one kid ate 0.3 of a bite of his soup, and the other kid had a tantrum of epic proportions about how she “doesn’t like Chicken Peas.” After an all-out, 60 minute relentless battle, both kids conceded to trying a few bites, but I needed a stiff drink. Lesson learned. No fucking way would I be trying that again.
The next day, I went to the grocery store, and I did it. I bought Vegan Chicken Nuggets. For $4.99, you get a tiny-ass box of about 15 half-sized nuggets. But – if they were as good as this young couple said they would be, then it just might be worth it right?
That night, I placed the Vegan Chicken Nuggets in the toaster oven. I felt zero guilt about the fuckery I was pulling on my kids – totally replacing their favourite meal with a fraudulent one.
I can’t believe what happened next.
The kids inhaled them. They loved every bite. They actually probably ate them as fast, if not faster than Regular Chicken Nuggets. Maybe they were just really hungry that night. Or maybe, tofu is just easier to chew than actual chicken.
Here’s the big problem though. And I can’t believe I’m about to admit this. I didn’t like the Vegan Chicken Nuggets nearly as much as Regular Chicken Nuggets. This has left me in a conundrum, because I wholeheartedly do not know what to think now about the whole concept of Vegan Chicken Nuggets. My kids seemed to like them – so am I as shitty mother if I don’t buy them anymore???
Here’s my overall assessment – and I can confidently say, I am a bit of a Nugget Connoisseur now. Not only that, but I do the purchasing of the Chicken Nuggets in our household. See – if you’re going to eat any sort of Nugget – Vegan or not – you have to be honest about the limited nutritional spectrum being offered. You’ll get protein and flavour out of any Nugget, but you’ll also get some sort of chemicals and mystery ingredients. Plus, you really do need to top that shit off with some sort of hidden greens. So, for me, you need to go for the Nugget that costs the least for the best taste. $4.99 for Vegan Nuggets that half-assed fed only three of us (my husband was out of town), just doesn’t cut it in my world. The dog didn’t get any of our usual leftovers. I can go to Costco and pay $10.99 for a giant, reasonably healthy, Bulk-Sized package that feeds our whole family for at least 4 meals. Or, I can go to No-Frills, and get a No-Name Family-Sized package of Chicken Nuggets for $9.00 on special, that will feed us all for at least 3 meals (they don’t seem as healthy as the Costco option – but they taste really fucking good).
So, I’m still not sure of the verdict. I might buy the Vegan Chicken Nuggets again once in a while, just because I need to keep the kids on their toes. And I’m still open minded to one day, maybe doing the Vegan thing for 29 out of 30 days a month. But I am simply not prepared at this point, to give up actual Chicken Nuggets.