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Read a blog, save a buck, trick a kid

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Oct. 22, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

If you add mashed broccoli to macaroni and cheese from the start, your kid will accept that it’s supposed to be green. Until a baby-sitter screws it up for you, that is. Frozen spinach can be chopped finely enough that you can’t tell it from the basil in marinara sauce.

Pumpkin is a vegetable, even if it’s in a muffin or ice cream. It’s an easy switch to sweet-potato oven fries, especially if the fry’s sole role is ketchup delivery.

You’re not really lying if a kid assumes a muffin is a cupcake, simply because it’s in a pretty paper and has sprinkles on top.

A few seconds with an immersion blender and a dash of milk will quickly turn any soup into an acceptable “cream of.”

Take those tactics, improvise and improve on them and save yourself $10 or $15. Of course, I won’t reject checks for that amount made payable to the Big Guy/Little Guy College Fund.That’s the going rate for two best-selling cookbooks: “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld – yes, Jerry’s wife – and “The Sneaky Chef” by Missy Chase Lapine

The premise behind both: Make sure even the pickiest eaters eat their veggies by disguising them as purees in brownies, sloppy Joes, meatballs and more.

From what I’ve read, I’m not interested. Life’s too short to spend any more time in the kitchen than I already do, and cooking, pureeing and disguising would seriously cut into my beauty sleep. And besides that, some of the stuff doesn’t even sound good – Lapine’s purple puree, made of spinach and blueberries, for instance. I think that’s actually illegal in several states.

The kerfuffle surrounding the books, though, is high entertainment.

First, there’s the “did she or didn’t she” drama. Lapine’s book came out in April, Seinfeld’s a few weeks ago. There are a number of similar recipes. Lapine told The Associated Press she isn’t accusing anyone of anything. But she said it does hurt to see someone else given credit for her method.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not trying to take credit for Lapine’s method. I didn’t even know it was hers when I started using it three years before “Sneaky Chef” was published. And I’m bitter that I didn’t start shopping the book then and there, so I could cash in on the bonanza as well. But, who needs a best-seller when I have a blog?

Ironically, publishers rejected Lapine’s book two years ago because it was too similar to another that had just come out, Lunch Lessons by Ann Cooper and Lisa Holmes.

The tally as of today on amazon.com: Five reviews for “Lunch Lessons,” 100 for “Sneaky Chef” and 127 for “Deceptively Delicious.” Looks like the delay worked for Lapine.

Then, there’s the Sanctimommy run amuck in the reviews, with those on the moral high road pureeing the sneaky but effective crowd.

“If you must ‘sneak’ vegetables’ into your children’s diets, you are obviously either utterly insecure or completely devoid of leadership skills,” wrote Christy Wolfe of Kansas City.

“How are your children getting exposed to bad food in the first place? I never exposed my daughter to any of the white foods including corn. The result, she has a wonderful palette and there has never been any difficulty at meal time. Jessica Seinfeld get’s (sic) it so wrong when it comes to her approach to feeding her children nutricous (sic) food, JUST DON T GIVE THEM BAD FOOD IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!” wrote Simple Graces of Cincinnati.

Ay, but there’s a huge gap between not giving them bad food and getting them to eat good food. Given the choice between carrots or starvation, Big Guy would pick slow, painful death every time.

So if Seinfeld’s scrambled eggs with cauliflower or Lapine’s spinach and blueberry brownies work for you, then, great. I’ve been known to load up the pasta sauce myself. I prefer, though, that Big Guy knowingly eat vegetables. And we’re getting there, one carrot at a time.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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