Most people have heard of the cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld, Deceptively Delicious. I have a copy and think it is loaded with great recipes and ideas. I have even cooked, served and eaten them. The cover says “simple secrets to get your kids eating good food”. I have to agree it might work for the moment but what does it teach? As a mom or parent, you might sleep well that evening because your child ate carrots in the meatballs or cauliflower in the macaroni and cheese.
When I cooked with the recipes in the book I felt uncomfortable about the process. I felt as if I was being deceptive to my children. Interesting enough that adjective is in the title of the book. I realized very soon there was something wrong with the picture! The book suggests I cook meals and hide vegetables for my child to eat well. As secretive as I can be, my child picks up on everything! I need to give my child more credit than I typically give her. She is very smart, sometimes I think smarter than adults including myself.
Maybe my feelings would be different, if the recipes were routine. A standard meal in the menu rotation would not have any attention and my child would not pick up on any deception. Usually something new such as a recipe does get attention no matter how hard I try to hide it…just the facts.
If we hide healthy food in a meal, what are we really saying? Are we teaching our kids it is OK to hide food? Are we teaching them there must be something wrong with carrots, broccoli, butternut squash, etc because we have to hide it to eat it? Are we shaming wonderful, flavorful, beautiful food? Are we teaching our children to be deceptive or lie? Are we disrespecting food? This is up to you as a parent to decide. I would answer YES to all of the questions.
I am not against the book or the idea of adding pureed veggies/fruit to recipes completely. Read my recipe post for my Mac & Cheese. You will read I suggest adding cauliflower to lower fat and calories but not to hide cauliflower. I have taken valuable tips and ideas from the book. I just added a step. If I am going to cook carrots in my macaroni and cheese (which I do not), I will also serve carrots as a side. This is how we take away the deception and add teaching with a sense of peace.