How to respond if your child doesn’t want to eat animals

Kinderling News & Features

One of Jaquelyn Muller’s brood wants to become a vegan ... brace for impact. Oh, and there's a recipe too!

The QE2 made a royal decree. (the 12-year-old of the same name and personality size to match, a namesake with more front than a cruise ship. She was also Kate Bush in a previous life).

The QE2: 'From henceforth I shall be a vegan! No animal will perish in order to give me life.'

Joan Rivers, our 17-year-old who has very little time to suffer fools and now vegans, suspected an accompanying song and dance routine to seal this decree.

Joan Rivers: 'Bloody hell. Muuuuum, The QE2 says she's going to be a vegan. Tell her NO.'

The QE2 achieved her objective. Getting her point across and pissing off her big sister at the same time. 

The Gent, likewise was dubious. He balanced concern for his 12-year-old pre-pubescent daughter's wellbeing and the demise of the Sunday night roast chook with equal facility. That was now one half of the family officially non-meat eaters. At least he could rely on Joan Rivers for support.  She is a staunch meat and potatoes gal who find lentils to be the single most pointless food ever invented. 

As usual, it was up to me to talk everyone down off the ledge, but tricky considering the last time I ate a roast chook was 1998. As a result, the blame for The QE2's outrageous alternative lifestyle was laid well and truly at my feet. First veganism then the next thing you know she will be off living in a Kabutz outside Nimbin, smoking god knows what and employing questionable personal hygiene. 

Normally I take full and happy ownership of The QE2's quirks and non-conformity. I like to think I have had a bit to do with her offbeat take on life. I can also rely on her to back up any of my antics, such as my insistence at jumping up and down on hotel beds when we go away, just because you can. 

So, the household is running aground and I am being thrown under the bus because I speak vegetarian and altie-touchy-feely shit. I am charged with educating her on the implications of her decision and what that means blah, blah, blah for her personal growth, blah, blah parental responsibility blah. 

The QE2 and I take up our serious discussion positions on her bed, along with Millicent Olivia Sophia Louise, the crappiest cavoodle in the world, as she senses an opportunity to have her ears stroked during these very Brady moments. 

The QE2: 'Mum, don't try to talk me out of it. I want to be respected for my beliefs.'

Me: 'I wasn't going to, but you do realise that means no more spaghetti bolognaise?' (I was starting off gently).

The QE2 (strong with resolve): 'Yes I do.'

Me: 'Or sausage rolls from Brumby's?'

The QE2 (not flinching): 'Yup'.

Me: 'Or egg and bacon breakfast burritos?'

The QE2: 'Ummmm ok.'

Here was my chance. Time to go in hard. 

Me: 'Or hot dogs at netball.'

The QE2: 'Mum really? Does anyone classify a hot dog as real meat?'


Me: 'Good point. Okay, you wouldn't be able to have Gran's pork roast crackling.'


The QE2: 'Yes but the crackling isn't actually meat.'

Twenty minutes of this bullshit later.

Listen to the conversation:

After analysing the five food groups and the nutritional value of a protein ball from Boost, The QE2 conceded that a full vegan diet may be somewhat limiting and a compromise was achieved, with both of us shaking hands and emerging from the bedroom. It was agreed that she would trial 'pescatarianism' like moi for a couple of months. This is essentially a vegetarian who eats seafood. The household grocery bill is due to go north as the requests for Norwegian smoked salmon from Norwegia have now started to flow through.  

We were back to smooth sailing once more. However, we didn't account for the fact that the QE2 would still raid the cupboards throwing out all the non-cruelty free products we have. Johnson and Johnson, you owe me around $500 smackers. 

We celebrated in relative peace with my homemade pumpkin soup (see recipe below), which is more like a dahl on account of the red lentils, which would send Joan Rivers off her nut if she knew. Everyone loves my 'pumpkin-soup-but-really-dahl' so it's one dish we can all eat together with no variations. 

Me: 'Who wants some toast with their soup?'

Joan Rivers: 'Yes please, but can I have white gluten-free bread?'

The Gent: 'Yes, but can I have some of that sourdough stuff if we have it?'

The QE2: 'Can I please have the not gluteny-free white bread cut in to toast soldiers?'

Joan Rivers: 'I'll have toast soldiers.'

The Gent: 'I'll have toast soldiers.'

Oh for fuck's sake! 

Jaq's 'Pumpkin-Soup-but-Really-Dahl'

In addition to the pumpkin and the red lentils I also use any combo of these that may be lying around. In the fridge of course, we don't have random veggies hanging about in the hallway (like swede, turnips, cauliflower, carrots or celery).


  • 1 whole butternut pumpkin
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup of red lentils, rinsed and hidden from Joan Rivers
  • Any other veggies you need to hide from the family
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 cup of rice milk (or preferred alternative)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan and sweat off the onions.
  2. Add all the chopped veggies along with the cumin, turmeric, coriander and salt and pepper and cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until they start to soften. 
  3. Add the stock and water. Bring to the boil, then cover with lid and reduce to simmer until cooked and shmooshy. 
  4. Remove from the heat and whiz or puree to desired consistency so your eldest can't pick out the lentils.
  5. Stir in the rice milk and taste for further seasoning. 
  6. Serve with chopped fresh coriander and a buffet-worthy array of crowd pleasing toast. 

Republished with permission from