Author Topic: Open Mouth, Insert Foot (warning, discusses offal)  (Read 4779 times)

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geekette

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Open Mouth, Insert Foot (warning, discusses offal)
« on: August 04, 2010, 07:19:05 AM »
I cast myself into Ehell: I thoughtlessly made a comment that could easily have greatly offended a coworker of mine, had she not been a much more graceful person than I.

I recently completed an internship. While on this internship, I went out to dinner with several of them to say farewell to another coworker who was going off to do bigger and better things. Among the other people who went out to dinner with us was Megan. Megan is a vegetarian, but she is also one of the good sort of vegetarians, and who accepts that people eat meat and they are not evil because of it. While waiting for our food, the following conversation arose:
Megan: (jokingly) Don't you know how cruelty those animals are killed?
Me: (also jokingly) I kill my own animals on my family's farm - I assure you that they are treated kindly and killed in the most human way possible. Actually, they get off better than us - we have to gut them after.
Megan: Actually, I've always wondered. What do you do with the blood and guts. Like, do you turn it into those puddings...?
Me: I think only pig's blood is used for black puddings, and I farm sheep. Usually we use the blood to fertilize the vegetable patch - blood and bone's an old a common... (it is at this point I remember Megan is a vegetarian)  :-[ Oh geez, I'm so sorry.
There is a pause. Then our coworker bean-dips.


I'm very embarrassed with myself - I had honestly forgotten that Megan was a vegetarian up until that moment, but it was still completely inappropriate for me to suggest that her vegetables are probably fertilized with animal products.
Fortunately, Megan accepted my stammered apologies, because she would make a much better Ehell member than I (it did seem strange to be apologizing for answering a question, but I wasn't sure what else to do).
Ehellions, what should I have done to not upset Megan - who asked the question - in the first place? Failing that, what should I have done to make up for my blunder?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 05:40:42 PM by geekette »

StarDrifter

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2010, 07:27:52 AM »
I don't think you really did anything wrong- she *asked* about what happens to the offal- and you offered an actual answer.

I used to work in an abbatoir and a few of my vegetarian friends have asked me all about it- if they ask a question then I give them an honest answer.

She was joking about the 'cruelly killed' part, and then when you mentioned (even if it was jokingly) that you've actually done some slaugher/butchering she may have been genuinely curious.

If you'd offended her, she probably would have just given you the Stare of Doom(tm) after your 'they get off better than us' comment.
... it might frighten them.
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Winterlight

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2010, 09:10:56 AM »
She asked, so I don't think you were wrong to answer. She may have been genuinely curious.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 09:14:25 AM »
You were good.  Me, not thinking, offering a vegetarian a piece of moose jerky?  Not so much...   ;D
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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2010, 09:19:01 AM »
You didn't do anything wrong at all. You answered her question - she didn't need to be shielded from the idea that animal products may have touched vegetables at one point or another. Vegetarians don't need to be wrapped in a cushy bubble-wrap of ignorance - you can state non-judgemental facts to them at any time as long as you are not using said facts as a PA way of manipulating or making fun of them. If they don't like the facts, that's their issue. :)

Also, even if she has jokingly said, "Do you know how cruelly those animals were killed" she would be on my "do not eat with this person" list. IMO, that is a rude thing to ask someone while they are eating and good for you for having an honest, truthful answer to her question.

In other words, you did well. :)
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magician5

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2010, 09:22:31 AM »
You made a really offal mistake, but at least you had the guts to apologize.
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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2010, 09:24:10 AM »
*GROAN*

BWHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Rosey

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2010, 10:04:04 AM »
I really, really don't want to seem like a Special Snowflake, but could you consider putting a warning in your heading/title about the nature of your post? It's a little . . . gruesome.

Sharnita

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2010, 10:09:03 AM »
I really, really don't want to seem like a Special Snowflake, but could you consider putting a warning in your heading/title about the nature of your post? It's a little . . . gruesome.

I come from a medical family so I am used to somewhat gruesome discussions but I have to say I think both your and Megan's discussion of slaughter and disposal probably should have been saved for another time since there were more than just you two there and it was a meal.

Carnation

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2010, 11:37:33 AM »
Remember in the Lion King, Mufassa says "When we die we become the grass and the antelope eat the grass"?

Think of it that way.

Amava

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2010, 11:48:48 AM »

I'm very embarrassed with myself - I had honestly forgotten that Megan was a vegetarian up until that moment, but it was still completely inappropriate for me to suggest that her vegetables are probably fertilized with animal products.

Why? It's the truth.

I don't think you did anything wrong, until you began to stammer as if it was something inappropriate.
That's where I, were I the vegetarian, would have felt slightly belittled because I would have gotten the feeling that you felt the need to coddle me.
Better to just casually finish your sentence and then beandip.

I'mnotinsane

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2010, 12:24:48 PM »
She is probably better off knowing that the blood and bone is sometimes used as fertilizer.  This fact is news to me and probably many other people.  She can now consider where she buys her veggies.

Since you were waiting for your food, not eating I might give you both a pass on this discussion.  But this type of imagery probably had a long lasting effect so a restaurant probably wasn't the best place for it.

VorFemme

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2010, 12:42:10 PM »
I remember seeing "bone meal" and "aged manure" on bags of various gardening supplements - so I was not SHOCKED by the idea that fertilizer might have some animal origin.  I guess a vegitarian might not think of what all those WILD vegetables are "eating" out in the woods, the plains, and the jungle...........not to mention the wild kelp in the sea.

But I've helped pluck chickens that my dad killed and passed them along to mom to deal with after that.  They smell much better cleaned, battered, and fried than they do after being dipped in boiling water as you begin the cleaning process.

Danged birds take dust baths and they don't use lavendar scented feather conditioner...................

I've always been of the opnion that if I really don't want to know where something edible came from - I won't ask. Because I've helped make sausage, too, not just plucked chickens.  The old saying about using all of the pig except the squeal is REAL.  If they could have salted & smoked that for the winter - I'm sure some farmer would have figured out how back when Julius Ceasar was still teething in ******* Rome.
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Twik

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2010, 01:03:43 PM »
I really believe you're overthinking this.

Megan asked what happened to the remains. That indicates that she wasn't all that squeamish about it. And why on earth would it be "completely inappropriate" to tell her the truth about the fertilizer? If it bothers her, better that she find out sooner rather than later.

You weren't telling her to squick her out, you were giving her an honest answer to a real question. If she's a "good" vegetarian, she should be able to take this in stride.
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Master_Edward

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Re: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2010, 01:30:04 PM »
Stop beating yourself up and feeling guilty I agree with everyone else that you didn't do anything wrong! Megan was the one who asked you in the first place, if she didn't want to know she shouldn't have asked. So if you upset her then it's her own fault you were just telling her what she wanted to know. It's the same thing as using manure because manure is an "animal" product too, even if it is animals' waste. I say Megan asked so if she was offended then too bad. There was no "blunder" on your part and there was absolutely no reason for you to apologize. You were fine and you should just let it go.

Ed.