October 16, 2007

Jessica Seinfeld's "Hide The Vegetables In The Cake" Book Sounds Ridiculous

Since I don't watch Oprah and I didn't read the big NYT article about picky eaters, I have to get my Jessica Seinfeld cookbook news from Gawker. And it sounds completely ridiculous. No one but the housekeeper should have to cook vegetables for hours, then puree them, and then secretly bake them into things the kid will reliably eat--like cake. This woman actually recommends making a chocolate cake from beets.

But everyone knows you don't eat beets because they're in the cake. You eat beets because they turn your pee red. I'd rather kill an afternoon trying to make my grandmother's pickled beets than bake some nasty-sounding beetcake.

And as for kid-friendly form factors for feeding kids vegetables, I have three words for you: _____ Booty, ______ Chip, and _____adilla. Actually, that's 2.5 words.

If Oprah calls, tell her I'm busy.

Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious": Kinda Deceptive, Not So Delicious [jezebel]
Picky Eaters? They Get It From You [nytimes]

19 Comments

actually, chocolate beetroot cake is an old English recipe that when done right (you put the beet raw into the cake batter) is very delicious and used to be thought of as an adult's pudding because it wasn't sweet and had the nice earthy taste of beetroot. seriously, it's good.

[magna carta, mincemeat, beetroot cake, one more thing to thank the british for. -ed.]

Sneaking vegetable matter into cake has two other problems, as well. 1: child won't learn to like vegetables, 2: cooking vegetables that long removes most of the nutrients anyway, so it's not much different than not doing it at all.

You'd be surprised what people put into cake. One of my kids came up with the idea of a saurkraut-chocolate cake, which I thought was hilariously gross, until I blogged about it, and several friends said "Oh, I've had that. It was tasty!" *shudder*

[this was exactly the point that gawker/jezebel made that stuck with me: nutrients lost, and by the time you brownie-fy it, the kid gets 1/12th of a serving of spinach. -ed.]

My wife drank the (pureed) koolaid. We've got a freezer full of cauliflower and carrot puree right now. I'll keep you posted on the mixed results.

[my heart goes out to you, man, -ed.]

And what the hell, the NYT was saying something like picky eaters is the result of genetics? Where's the survival instincts in that? When the apocalypse comes, these kids are going to be the ones who die in the fallout shelters waiting for the right foods to appear. A kid won't starve him or herself and you sometimes gotta eat the stuff you don't like to get to the good stuff. No wonder kids are running their parents ragged and are so obnoxious these days.

I'll have to try the beet pee thing as I love beets and haven't ever noticed that. Maybe I just need to eat a couple of pounds of them at a sitting. :)

My kid is scary skinny, Nicole Richie before the baby skinny. One of the specialist at the children's hospital said to stop trying to feed him fruits and vegetables because they didn't have enough calories. There are only two ways kids like veggies... deep fried or covered in cheese.
Don't give me advice on feeding my kid if you have a chef and a nanny or two. And this is from someone who doesn't own a microwave because microwaves lead you to eating crap.

I couldn't agree with you more but, people are falling all over themselves for this stuff. I should have married someone famous and come up with sh!t on toast too -oh, hind sight is always 20/20!

I think it is a total waste of time. Try cooking the stuff up with some flavor or spices (I've never seen a kid in India pass up the spinach).

P.S. Want a real kick from your pee -try eating a pound of asparagus [heheheehhee]

I grind greens up to get over my daughter's hatred of green things. She won't try anything green these days unless it's okra. She loooves the okra. But I also don't sneak it in. Ground up kale (with a bit of texture left in) is really tasty and doesn't leave you feeling like a rabbit. But I agree that you need to get your kids to eat vegetables that look like vegetables.
I've had a lot of success with just slicing and lightly sauteeing. Or making into baked fries. Those two work for almost everything that's not a green leafy vegetable.

IME, most kids who won't eat veggies won't eat them because some moron has gone and boiled out all the tasty stuff.
Of course, I can shoot my mouth off because I have 2 kids who love pickled beets. Well, pickled anything.

Monster went through a phase where all he would eat was chicken and green salad but we never worried about it and after a while he just outgrew it. The only think Squeak won't eat is baby food.

My theory is that kids get picky for two reasons: Either they are trying to assert some control in their lives or boiled mushy carrots really do taste revolting to them.

If every dinner is an argument, they got their control. If it's the nastiness of your cooking, then making them eat until they gag doesn't exactly inspire a love of food.

SC, what was once survival can now be stupid, in the modern world. You know how much little kids try to put everything in their mouths; just think of that in a natural world where some of the plants are poisonous, as are various creepy-crawlies. Not the modern world.

I'm fortunate; both the twins will eat anything. They love broccoli, all the traditional hated veggies, ethnic foods, and so on.

So far the cauliflower-scrambled eggs are pretty gross. No surprise there.

My kid eats brocoli and asparagus all day long, so we're not really sweating it or trying to sneak anything in. Some of the simpler stuff like chicken nuggets make sense. If you're going to make them (from scratch), might as well use whole wheat panko and flaxseeds for the breading, and not just white flour or corn meal. But that's just common sense.

I'll balance it out with my own recipes for peanut butter burgers and bacon sandwiches.

[i learned the hard way that bacon is not a vegetable. -ed.]


i am resigned to the "nature" side of the age-old argument because my two girls are like jack sprat and his wife, despite my nurturing and healthy-food influence. i choked down bales of leafy greens all pregnancy long, and still my first born would not, will not eat them. not in a box, not on a fox... but dang, the second hasn't met a floret yet she doesn't like. i blame it on genetics-- my picky-eater mother used the excuse that she was "allergic" to vegetables as to why she refrained from eating them.

My son used to be one of those children who ate anything, his brother still is. I eat raw veggies instead of potato chips. He won't eat anything the colour green,including candy.

We always find with our kids you just have to try everything. Just because it doesn't seem like something a kid would want to eat doesn't mean they won't. My son is all about spicy dried fish (because he gets to eat the heads?!). My daughter tikka masala sauce on bread (thank you Trader Joe's).
My husband and I love the adventure of food and I think when you show kids that its okay to stick something in your mouth that you might hate, they learn from your example.

Okay, I'm a little in love with your post.

I ranted about this book and how ridiculous it is ad nauseum on my blog, but you did it short, sweet and right on the point, honey!

Consider me a new fan...

I find it hilarious the amount of people who chastise those of us who do hide vegetable in our children's food! How many of you actually have children?!?! I feed my children vegetables, they don't necessarily love them, but we do try. With that said, how many of us honestly say that we get all the fruits and vegetables that we need everyday? And before you get all full of yourself and raise your hand be honest with yourself. I am all about making my children's dessert more healthy for them. If that means adding beets, then so be it. There are by far worse things we could be doing then finding new and creative ways to make sure our children get what they need.

Your theory about kids only being picky eaters for 2 reasons is slightly ignorant. My child has Sensory Integration Disorder... and one of the very common symptoms that most child who suffer from this disorder experience is picky eating. It is not because they have been spoiled or their parents have prepared food incorrectly, it is because they cannot handle the texture of most foods. Also, my son also suffers from Oral Aproxia, which makes it difficult for him to chew most hard foods, including crunchy vegetables.

*Slightly* ignorant? You're being too generous. I'd never heard of either SID or Oral Aproxia until five minutes ago. Is oral aproxia the same as oral apraxia? Considering the exceptional nature of your kid's conditions and the extremely limited data sets most parents have access to [i.e., thier own kids and their own childhoods, plus a few chats/observations of the neighbors, plus whatever headlines they happen to see], I would bet that the vast majority of parents are ignorant of the particulars of your kid's experience. Which makes me feel that you're also being a bit needlessly confrontational, too, but who knows, maybe that's just what you have to do to manage the occupational therapy and the potentially stressful discussions of developmental delays.

Which is a rambling way of saying of course, no one but an absolutist knucklehead will deny that there are always exceptions and logical, even imperative cases where parents need to go to extraordinary lengths to get their kids the nutrition and the eating habits they need to thrive.

BUT, I never heard jack from Jessica Seinfeld about her book being targeted--or even useful to--kids with SID or Apraxia or any other atypical condition. She certainly wasn't aiming for these small, concentrated demographics when she went on Oprah. If she promoted the book on the Oral Apraxia Families Yahoo Group, just let me know; I'm happy to admit my ignorance again.

I was not intending to be "needlessly confrontational" though I do realize that the argument that I presented was of a less common case. I was trying to show the people who seem to be closed off to the idea that there are more reasons than bad parenting that can attribute to a child being a picky eater and that maybe they should be a little more considerate of the fact that there are more than one side to each story before they start telling us what we are doing wrong.

You are a bad parent and the reason your child is malnourished is because of you. DSS should take your children from you and give them to a pack of wolves, they stand a better chance of making it. Oh by your tone I can tell you are divorced and your ex is married and happy and you are bitter and alone.

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