Self-deceptively delicious

November 1st, 2007

Mom, what’s your favorite holiday?

Crinkle. Chomp. Swallow.

New Year’s.

And hey! Speaking of lying to yourself, what’s the deal with this mega-deception anyway? 1.2 million copies in print? And who needs help hiding squash in macaroni and cheese? Burying chickpeas in chocolate? What kind of help is that? We need help getting the squash out into the open as it is! Chickpeas, rise up and reveal your true (lack of) colors! Good food tastes good by itself. But let’s be honest. You can do all that without a book, and your children just might begin to trust you more if you stop trying to pull one over on them at dinner, no matter how adept you are at fooling some of the people some of the time.

Oh look at that, my buddhism went all to hell with this post. I’ll try to patch up my self-image next time. Maybe I should get a little counsel from a world-class expert in the art of fooling no one. Turns out that, as of today, Karen P. Hughes, trusted counselor to the President, is available for another tricky assignment with truth, and I only hope she doesn’t write a cookbook.


  1. hey…you know i just read an article about the squabble and according to the professor of nutrition at NYU, adding cooked purees to veggies, in the proportions suggested, that is then re-cooked only adds a minimal amount of nutrition and is hardly worth the effort. to quote the prof, “it’s laughable”.

    it’s recommended that one keeps reintroducing the foods until the child develops (or not) a taste for them.

    i better run…i need to go invent something and get it on oprah show.


    Comment by Wendy — November 1, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

  2. oh…i had to come back and ask you something regarding deception because i’ve been struggling with this issue since satch was born: “jolly old st. nick”. can i admit that i’m completely torn over it? every year at this time i start feeling very guilty…on the one hand i want to nurture his fantasy life and imagination like when he tells me “the octopus went that way”…i pretend to look for it. on the other hand i worry about losing his trust in me, about hurting him when he figures out the game.


    back to inventing…

    Comment by Wendy — November 1, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

  3. Wendy,
    Thanks for rising to the call. I certainly don’t think, as this case proves, that fame and fortune requires troubling yourself with invention. Just package old stuff in as new. And as to the question of what constitutes lying to our children, I think that is EXACTLY the kind of thorny patch we need to delve into as a topic, and soon since sleighbells are ringing!

    Comment by Karen — November 1, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

  4. Is there ever any real “new” idea/concept/recipe or aren’t they all sort of variations on the same thing. That said, I LOVE my cookbooks.

    I throw all kinds of food in the blender and Leo eats it as dip. Is this deceptive? Or is he just like me and kind of texture sensitive more than taste averse and therefore it is smooth and creamy, its a sure win?

    Bring on Santa!

    Comment by bella — November 1, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

  5. Yeah, I am transparent about food. I figure if they plant it, grow it, pick it, cook it, they will eat it. NOPE. Be a good example, have healthy organic foods, eat from scratch, lots of variety. NOPE. Re-introduce it, try different recipes, different combinations. NOPE. Some kids eat whatever. Some kids won’t. Doesn’t matter if it is sneaky or not. Texture. Smell. Sensitivity. This too will change.

    We don’t “do” Santa as a real thing. I don’t have any problem chatting about the stories and mythology and saying “well, the STORY is that…”. So, they know the scoop. But they can still enjoy it. I’m a lousy liar – I have to tell the truth – so I could never pretend it was “real” anyway! πŸ˜‰

    Comment by denise — November 1, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

  6. Bella,
    I love your dip. It’s not deceptive. Now if you hid the dip in a mound of ice cream while telling yourself that Leo was eating something “good,” that would be deception. But again, you’d only be deceiving yourself. Leo eats whatever Leo eats. But put pureed spinach in brownies for the sake of a mother’s feeling of self-righteousness or goodness and THAT’s where the deception occurs. A mother like that is only fooling herself and, as Wendy noted, benefiting the child not one bit.

    Yes, when Georgia began to articulate her quite discerning aversions to texture, it rained a bit on my Mango Parade.

    Comment by Karen — November 1, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

  7. I don’t have kids but I totally agree that good foods shouldn’t be hidden in bad foods. They do need to be eaten for what they are and kids need to learn to like them. Good post! I whole-heartedly agree!

    Comment by Karen Beth — November 1, 2007 @ 4:33 pm

  8. I’ll try to patch up my self-image next time.

    Is that you or Count Effluvium Ginormus Overtopster speaking? πŸ˜‰

    Comment by kathryn — November 1, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  9. So many dos and do nots … so many yeses and nos, so many what ifs and what nots. It’s very hard for moms today who feel pressured on all sides to do what is best.

    Comment by Shawn — November 1, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  10. Bad Buddhist! Bad Buddhist!

    Seriously, I just disagree with deception aspect of the cookbook. What’s the point? Unless, of course, you PLAN to follow your child around for the rest of her life hiding cauliflower in her chocolate cake!

    Comment by Mama Zen — November 1, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  11. aw, thanks for visiting the little blog….now i can check out cheerio road!!


    Comment by vickie — November 1, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  12. Kathryn: You SCARE me!
    Shawn: Good point. There is no right or wrong. But look how far we go in the name of right.
    Mama Zen: I love it when you talk dirty to me.

    Comment by Karen — November 1, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  13. What about when we tell our son that the peas are edamame, because he will eat edamame but not peas? In his diet it sometimes seems like the name of the food that he doesn’t like. If we give him some way to call it something else, he’ll eat it, even when I’m pretty sure he knows they’re really peas.

    Comment by RocketMom — November 1, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

  14. Now that’s what I call Rocket Science. Effective immediately, at our table, it’s ALL edamame.

    Comment by Karen — November 1, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  15. I always wonder if I’m doing the right thing, but I offer the food and he eats it or he doesn’t. Sure, he likes marshmellows, but for several days in a row what has he asked for a snack? Tomatoes. And I didn’t suggest or wheedle or hide them. He even asked for seconds.

    Comment by marta — November 1, 2007 @ 8:36 pm

  16. Hey, I typed a comment and it disappeared! Where did it go? And what does that mean?

    I will re-type (and it will probably appear twice):

    Wendy – how did you feel when you found out about Santa? I for one loved the Tooth Fairy, and I believed in her until I figured it out. I never felt betrayed (and I still got my money).

    I am so obsessed with not wanting to “deceive” that I have this habit of having to tell Anise the name of the food before spooning it in her mouth at every bite! I feel bad when she opens her mouth so trusting, and the thought of not knowing what to expect bothers me…

    But I am crazy.

    Comment by Mika — November 1, 2007 @ 11:27 pm

  17. Mika, I do the same thing! Not crazy. Not at all. Who wants avocado when they’re expecting pea smush?

    not sure if the B understands me, but I think he gets I’m not trying to trick him.

    Comment by Susannah — November 2, 2007 @ 1:08 am

  18. M&S: I think that narration we give as we feed is one of the brilliantly automatic ways that we impart language to our children. Even though we don’t intend to, we give them the means to associate an experience with a word.

    And furthermore Mika, that trustful state of unknowing in our babies is their ancestral wisdom, their Buddha nature, the state we are all trying to return to! Then we could appreciate chickpeas, which are quite wonderful when you don’t expect them to taste like anything else.

    Comment by Karen — November 2, 2007 @ 1:15 am

  19. “Then we could appreciate chickpeas, which are quite wonderful when you don’t expect them to taste like anything else.”

    EXACTLY. This is basically what I tell my husband ALL.THE.TIME. Let it go, man, let it go.

    Comment by denise — November 2, 2007 @ 2:04 am

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