We were walking out of the bookstore and I spotted a stack of Deceptively Delicious cookbooks on one of the front tables. I showed the cover to the Wolvog and ChickieNob and then told them pointblank, "I'm going to cook something from this next week and trick you. You're going to eat it and then I'm going to scream, 'it was full of spinach'." And they laughed. They laughed and laughed and I laughed and laughed.
And then I went home and plotted.
I have to admit, when I first saw this cookbook, I didn't get it. I started skimming through the recipes, noting that there were a bunch of purees at the start of the book. Make your own baby food, I thought. But then I started noticing that all the recipes were a little...off. For instance, my brownies have butter, cocoa, and sugar in them. Jessica Seinfield laces hers with carrot and spinach puree.
The woman is an evil genius.
Every recipe in the book is healthy. It's food kids love--quesadillas, spaghetti and meatballs, pizza--but all made with fruits and vegetables tucked into the ingredients list like covert spies in a dangerous land.
The Wolvog has been described by some as a "picky eater." I, myself, call him love-wrapped-in-skin-who-happens-to-not-enjoy-anything-other-
than-eight-things. But to each their own. His eight foods? Vegetarian bacon, grilled chicken, cream of broccoli soup, peanut butter and jelly, pancakes, pizza, whole wheat Wheat Thins, and yogurt. Sometimes a food is rotated off the list. For instance, pizza was an acceptable dinner option for a while and then went out of vogue and has since come back in style along with banana clips and stirrup pants. Veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery rarely is a food added.
I started with the pancakes figuring that (1) he will eat pancakes and (2) sweet potatoes are one of his most dreaded foods. When the ChickieNob (who eats pretty much anything) is chomping down on sweet potatoes, he rolls around dramatically in his high chair, moaning while keeping his hands over his mouth. I once tried a different "pancake-like" egg recipe from Kids Cook 1-2-3, which is a very cool cookbook where every recipe requires only three ingredients. I renamed them "cloud pancakes" since the Wolvog does not eat eggs. He said they were delicious so I ran with the idea of introducing everything in the form of pancakes.
He was a little suspicious at first--the colour is a bit off from normal pancakes--and watched me bustle about the kitchen in an attempt to hide my guilty face. But then he started eating them absentmindedly, chatting on about cell phones and iPods while he emptied his plate.
"Do you like those pancakes?" I asked him, motioning towards his plate.
"They're sweet!" he said, dipping another piece in his maple syrup.
It took every ounce of my being not to start shrieking: "they're full of sweet potatoes" as if I were announcing that soylent green is people.
I'm really proud of the Wolvog. I am not quite as proud of myself. I could not bring myself to try the sweet potato pancakes (I also couldn't bring myself to try the cloud pancakes). I don't have a problem eating vegetables--after all, I am a vegetarian--but I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of knowing that there were root vegetables in the pancakes. It's my own hang-up. I can eat the sweet potato and I can eat the pancake. But together?
Do you think the Wolvog inherited this from me?
The New York Times recently had an article about how picky eaters inherit this tendency from their parents. I may have given him a gag reflex that begins simply with the smell of an undesired food; but Jessica Seinfeld has given me the secret medicine to combat picky-eater-itis: Deceptively Delicious.