I love cookbooks.
Given the opportunity, I'll read them like regular people would read a book or magazine. One year for Christmas, my parents scoured antique stores and gave me a box of old, old, old cookbooks. So I was excited to review Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook Deceptively Delicious. Yes, Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld wrote a cookbook.
Upon receiving the cookbook, I was struck by the durable, easy to clean cover. It's spiral bound and the pagers are nice and thick. Publishers take note: there is nothing better than being able to lay a cookbook flat and have it stay open. The pictures are beautiful and I love the pencil drawings of each of the family members.
Jessica created this cookbook to end the mealtime struggle of "eat your veggies." By making and adding purees to recipes, she's happy in providing a "respectable portion of veggies" (1) to her kids meal without the fuss. I guess I'm lucky in that my kids are very good eaters - veggies included - but I was willing to try something new.
The book contains an excellent resource from Joy Bauer on kids and nutrition as well as a breakdown of nutritional guidelines for children.
I tried several of the recipes with varying degrees of sucess. Two of them in particular were resounding successes: Chicken Nuggets (broccoli) and Italian Meatloaf (carrot). When I cooked the Chicken Nuggets I baked them rather than cooking them on the stovetop in a small amount of oil. For the Italian Meatloaf, next time I'll cut the celery even smaller, as my 7 year old balked a little bit at the sight of green in meatloaf. Of the recipes I tried, these two came out the best.
Several of the recipes were moderate successes: "Buttered" Noodles (squash), Mozzarella Sticks (cauliflower), Pancakes (sweet potatoes), and Sloppy Joes (sweet potato and butternut squash). In each of these, at least one of my kids asked me accusingly "What's in this?" Thought they did generally eat it.
And two recipes didn't tempt the palate: Scrambled Eggs (cauliflower) and Tofu Nuggets (broccoli). I knew the Tofu would be a long shot - dipped in egg and spinach or broccoli puree then rolled in a mixture of breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan cheese, and paprika. All three kids ate one small bite of one small nugget. Which leaves us with the Scrambled Eggs. Normally my kids devour scrambled eggs. Not these. The texture was a bit off, as was the taste.
The one thing I didn't like is I don't think they made enough mention of still serving vegetables with dinner. There is one reference on page 32, but that's all I found. Also, my husband and I found some of the recipes a little bland, but that can easily be fixed.
Thought it can be a bit overwhelming to look at having to make a bunch of purees, after making homemade baby food for three kids it really wasn't that big of a deal. I took about an hour and a half to have enough purees for probably three weeks. They're stashed safely in the freezer, just waiting for my next cooking flurry.
Overall, I think this book has a lot of great ideas for incorporating more nutrition in everyday meals. It's a fun cookbook that got me excited about trying new recipes, and I haven't even gotten to the desserts yet!
(1) Deceptively Delicious, page 10.