Monday, October 8, 2007

Jessica Seinfeld Cooks. Her Recipes are Real and They are Fabulous

Clearly, Jessica Seinfeld is a better mother than I am. Here she goes and takes the time to make an actual cookbook that tells us other moms how to get our finicky eaters how to eat healthy foods. What? The lady hasn’t heard of McDonalds? They cook their potatoes in vegetable oil. I believe that’s two sources of veggies right there.

I admit, when Parent Bloggers let me know I would be reviewing her book, Deceptively Delicious, I was a little skeptical. My initial reaction was: Jessica cooks? Really? She’s not lounging on her chaise, drawling in a Thurston Howell III accent for the hired help to do her bidding when she wants something prepared? No? Too much television then.

Actually, I can relate to Jessica: we both have children and we both care about what goes into their body. And clearly, we both have some experience with picky eaters. In fact, I should have named this review, How to Get Your Children to Stop Using the Phrase: My Food is Touching! Myyyy Foooood is Touching! I Can’t Eat That! But how do you get kids to eat things that are healthy? Especially if they’re past the “It’s not broccoli! It’s a tree! That dinosaurs eat! Raaarrr!” phase. Jessica has the answer: be sneaky.

Jessica makes you feel right at home the minute you open her book (which I love if only for the awesome binding, which enables you to lay it flat on the counter to read the ingredients without propping jars of peanut butter on the corners). She introduces her family with cute bios and drawings to help us get to know why she wrote the book. I’ll do the same, so you can know who, exactly, the test subjects for Jessica’s recipes were.

Meet Maddie: Charming pubescent daughter who eschews food that touches, food that doesn’t coordinate with the current seasonal palette for Abercrombie & Fitch, and at times, food that contains molecules, nutrients, or atoms.

Heeere’s Chloe: Preteen in training. Chloe likes food that doesn’t moo, oink or bleat. She is willing, however, to eat pasta salad, chocolate, and air.

Awww! It’s Jacob: Five year old adventurer. Will eat anything dangerous, evil, or imbued with super powers. Does not like fish, however still believes us when we say salmon is the thigh meat of Darth Vader.

Whoa! Jack is in the house: Jack is a fifteen month old who likes food that can be placed in his mouth and chewed. Favorites include pasta with fresh pesto, coq au vin, and anything Playskool.

I chose to cook something from two of her three recipe categories: mealtime and dessert. I skipped her breakfast section, but I can't wait to make her pink pancakes this weekend. While I appreciated her sections on equipping the kitchen, the basics of cooking, and nutrition, I didn’t spend a lot of time there. If you are a new mom or have little experience with cooking and haven’t read up on nutrition, this is a great place to start. The other reason I skipped it is because with four kids I only had 4.7 minutes to read the book at any given time

So, here’s what I chose to cook:

*Carrot Cake Muffins
*Mashed Potatoes
*Whole wheat pita pizza

Hands down, my kids loved the muffins. We sprinkled them with fall-themed sprinkles and made it a healthy dessert. The mashed potatoes were also well-received, with the boys giving them the most enthusiastic thumbs up. The most lukewarm response was to the pizza, but hey – you can’t win ‘em all! I plan on making several more of the recipes from the book, and have the meatball soup slated for Thursday.

All in all, I thought this was a cute book. The pictures were great (I will not buy cookbooks without pictures), and again, why every cookbook doesn’t come with that fabulous ringed binding is beyond me. A suggestion: Many women run from recipes that call for cheese cloth, cognac, or puree. Jessica is big on sneaking vegetable puree into the recipes. This is a great idea. She dedicated four pages of her book to how you can also puree ahead of time, in six easy steps! With steps within the steps! So it’s actually twenty steps. Just a hunch, but some moms aren’t going to find this part of her book appealing. I am always in a hurry, and I found that in a time crunch, organic pureed squash (the kind in a baby food jar) works just as well. After all, it’s just water and organic squash, or carrots, or peas.
Oh, stop. It’s not like there’s a diaper in there.

The kids sampling the pizza....

1 comment:

Jan said...

You do know that she totally plagiarized this, right? Much of Seinfeld’s book is word for word from Missy Chase Lapine’s "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals”. Lapine’s was published in April, Seinfeld was published in Oct.