In October 2011 something seemingly innocent happened that rallied parents everywhere. This event wasn’t monumental in way of penicilan or amoxicilan but it did get a lot of very positive attention. In October 2011 Jessica Seinfeld released her “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook which presented the haggard homemaker with an ingenous way to get their kids eating vegetables. Hide them.
The plan is for parents to puree, smash, bash, squash, and blend an assortment of vegetables into pastes, freeze them, and then mix in with dinner. Myself and many others thought this was great, asking ourselves, “why aren’t I secretly mixing vegetables into their macaroni and cheese?”. As parents we began the illusion and I’m sure many continue the process of cook, blend, hide – but I don’t. I stopped and for good reason. My kids didn’t know what vegetables were.
This is the inherent flaw in Seinfeld’s system. You hide the vegetables so that kids don’t know what they are eating but later when they see vegetables they don’t recognize they’ve eaten them.
An ironic piece of phrasing comes from part of the Deceptively Delicious introduction; “Wouldn’t it be great if kid came into the world with the innate desire to eat the right food? In reality, however, too many food choices – many of them unhealthy – make it impossible for kids to distinguish the good from the bad”. If kids don’t come into the world with the innate desires to eat right, then this cooking style further defeats that purpose. Hiding cauliflower in homemade chicken nuggets does get your kid to eat vegetables, but it also reinforces eating chicken nuggets without the need for vegetables.
Suddenly having a child to feed is really eye opening. Feeding yourself well is easy, you know what to do, you have good options, young children do not. This is why baby food sells so well. When we were making homemade baby food it was costing us one-forth the price or less for what the pre-packaged stuff costs and we knew what was going into ours. We picked the squash, beans, avocado, and banana. After baby food things get a bit more complicated. Tomatoes are acidic, honey can be poisonous, and leafy greens are choking hazards. For toddlers and pre-schoolers parents need food that’s soft, chewable, tasty, healthy, and appealing to little mouths.
This book and cooking style probably won’t reach the eggs are good for you then bad then good again level but parents should know up front what they are getting into. Your kids may be eating their vegetables but they don’t know what vegetables are and that may be the bigger problem.