Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Deceptive Detective

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what and how to feed the twins.  Mirabelle will eat anything sweet tasting:  fruits, candies, cookies, cakes, etc.  She'll eat most cheeses and some meat but really has no taste for vegetables.  Finn, however, will actually try vegetables and hates fruit; but loves other sweet things like graham crackers, cookies, candy, etc.

Developmentally, we are entering those dark days of dining where the floor gets fed more than the twins.  Everything I've read suggests this is normal and will eventually phase away--but I can't help but wonder 'if only I cooked it better', 'tried a different technique', 'coated it in ketchup . . .'

Then I heard about Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook for picky eaters called Deceptively Delicious.  When I first heard about it I rejected the idea of 'hiding' vegetables in brownies, cupcakes and chicken nuggets.  I'm still recovering from being lied to about Santa--why would I break my children's trust by sneaking quality nutrition into their daily diets?

Jessica was recently on Oprah; which I accidentally deleted before realizing she's the author of Deceptively Delicious (at the time thinking 'who the heck is Jessica and why do I care what Jerry Seinfeld's wife has to say?').

So now I'm searching the web trying to find out about deceptive cooking.  So far, it sounds like a ton of work.  Before you actually make any meal, you have to prep the hidden vegetables into purees by steaming or cooking them for a hundred years.

In my sleuthing, I stumbled on two pretty cool articles from Jezebel and the NY Times.  The NY Times article was mainly about a recent study on picky eating and addressed the method of deceptive cooking.  Apparently the majority of toddler food preferences are genetic and the best methods to deal with them are patience and repetition (so got this last one in the bag--I have to do EVERYTHING twice!!).

So, if we are genetically wired to hate broccoli then it's okay to steam it, puree it and hid it in the chocolate pudding?  Here's were I still have issues and the psychologists seemed to agree.  The other 20% of food preferences are learned behaviors--if you never introduce broccoli in it's God-intended form; how will you ever learn to eat it smothered in cheese sauce (another God-intended form).  Then there is the issue of trust--if you knowingly hide spinach in the brownie and call it a 'brownie' instead of a 'spinach brownie' are you teaching your children that lying is okay, as long as Mommy is doing it?

Let's not forget about the added work involved in making these deceptive foods.  Should it really take three hours to make chicken nuggets (that's how long it would probably take me to prep, steam, puree, cook, and clean . . . Mommy would rather chat with you fine readers)?

At the end of the day, I'm going to keep offering the green beans in green bean form--even if Belle ignores them and Finn flings them on the floor (yesterday's sad performance).  Both Dave and I love food of all kinds and we will try anything.  I want the twins to grow up enjoying this variety as well.  If that means we waste a year's worth of vegetables that could possibly feed a small starving nation--in order for me to repeatedly introduce squash, then we waste them!!  This is America!!!


Zoo Keeper said...

I've seriously considered buying this book so I can cook this way for my husband. But alas - it's too much work. He's a grown up so if he doesn't like what I make he can always order pizza....

Deb Phillips said...

I got this book as a baby shower gift. After trying a couple of the recipes, I agree with everything you say--it takes tons of time to prepare everything! I couldn't believe it! However, I really liked a couple of the recipes in there. For example, her meatloaf recipe was really good. And, instead of steaming and pureeing the food, I just sliced it really small and sauteed it. The kids liked it, too! (with a small amount of ketchup on it). They are now to the point where they eat whatever we are eating for lunch/dinner. It took a couple of days for them to adjust, but now they will at least try the food before flinging it on the floor. I consider their food flinging a donation to the dog food fund.