Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deceptively Delicious

I am a cookbook junkie. A good portion of one of my kitchen counters is dedicated to holding the various food specific tomes my husband and I have collected throughout the years. Believe it or not, we actually use almost all of them. When I was asked by the Parent Bloggers Network to review the new cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld I asked myself, for about .6 seconds, if I really needed another one.

Uh, yeah. Of course I did. This junkie needs her fix.

A majority of my cookbooks are geared toward the more adult palate. I knew Deceptively Delicious was going to be about hiding nutritious elements in some foods that kids typically enjoy, so I jumped on the opportunity because I have a toddler. I will admit, however, I had no idea the level to which it would go.

Deceptively Delicious, a pretty, easy to read cookbook, with a spiral binding (big points for that, I don't know why more cookbooks don't come that way) and cute quotes by the author and her family, is all about pureeing vegetables and adding them to kid-friendly foods to make sure children get all the nutrition they need but don't always want.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that my daughter will eat vegetables. Not every vegetable, but quite a few and she'll often ask for seconds. So I don't need to hide that many vegetables in her food. With that in mind, the pureeing part did not thrill me. It's a good concept but it requires more prep than I'm used to. It adds an extra step (or two) to my already last minute scramble to produce a healthy, tasty meal for my family.

To disclose more, I've been flat on my back for more than a week and before that I wasn't doing much cooking due to weird schedules. My bad.

I did try the meatloaf - mainly because it didn't require pureeing food - and my family liked it (I did add garlic and onions to it, for my husband and because Chicky doesn't mind the combination in meatloaf). It was easy and tasty and my family liked it so I'll make it again. I'm very much looking forward to making the some of the the recipes that call for spinach puree (Chicky does not eat spinach) and especially the sweets. I'm not a mom who gives her child much sugar, so when I can stand the smell of food again I will be baking those desserts. Blueberry lemon muffins? Yummy. And the pancakes with sweet potato or pumpkin? I'm all over that... When the thought of it doesn't make me gag (Damn you, morning sickness!).

I do not think, however, I will become a regular puree-er. Occasionally, yes. Every week, like Seinfeld recommends in her book? I don't think that's going to happen. I'm not that organized.

So, would I recommend Deceptively Delicious to my girlfriends? Yes, I would. I would definitely recommend it to moms who don't have kids who eat vegetables regularly and who are at the end of their ropes trying to get something nutritious into their precious offspring. I would recommend it to the moms who have no problem with organization and can set aside a couple of hours every week, not to mention a reserved spot in their freezer, to cook and puree vegetables and then store them for later use. Would I recommend it to another scatterbrained mother like myself? Eh. I'm still on the fence about that. The book is pretty inspirational. It might even turn a dinner-time procrastinator like me into a organized family chef. I wouldn't hold my breath, but it could happen.

(If you would like to take a look at some of the recipes in Deceptively Delicious before deciding to buy the book for yourself, you can find some here.)

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Blogger karengreeners said...

It does look like a cute book, but I also have a kid that says yes to veggies. However, once I start making baby food again and the smoosher is used in high rotation anyway, I might consider using a few of my frozen puree cubes for 'deceptive' additions.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

BubTar's motto is "I don't eat green!" Not even lettuce, which, let's face it, is solidified water.

Did it say if you can use jars of pre-pureed baby food? That might save time, although it wouldn't save money.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. Yeah. I like the premise. If I had tons of money for a nanny to entertain the kids while I pureed my little heart out it might be worthwhile.

10:00 AM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

you are lucky - I've got a veggie hater on my hands - we are trying out the recipes also and so far the verdict is SUCCESS! But damn, I had to drag out the old food puree thingy. Flashbacks of feeding a 6mth old scared me silly.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tried the puree thing on my own and didn't have much success. I have done the pizza thing: cut the veggies real small and then cover them with sauce and cheese. My daughter and son can now pick them out.

I have my doubts, because my son has turn down many things, because of a hidden veggie. They were so hidden I didn't even notice them and I am not a big veggie eater.

Ah hell, I guess I could give the cake and browines a whirl. I wonder how my kids will react when I encourage them to go ahead and eat more.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

I was curious about this book - I'm glad you reviewed it. We have food issues in our house and I thought this might be a good idea to try with my daughter. Still, just because it's pureed doesn't mean it hides the taste, right? Or does it? My daughter will taste the difference between the sweet potato pancakes and regular ones in a heartbeat. I don't know. I guess I'd have to try to find out. I'm like you though. It sounds like too much prep time so something that ultimately will end up in the trash.

8:24 AM  
Blogger ms blue said...

I certainly could use a few new recipes. I get bored so easy but still keep making the same old thing.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mrs. Chicky -

Thanks for the very thorough and thoughtful review of this book.

I really disliked the whole concept of the book (so much so that I ranted about it like a crazy woman on my blog) but I think your piece is very balanced and I believe I will throw up a post today sending my readers to your site so they can read a more balanced analysis - sort of balance mine out a bit.

Nicely done. Thanks!

8:04 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Have you read what they're saying about this book now? That it's a rip off of some other cookbook called The Sneaky Chef?

3:20 PM  
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