Quote of the Day: Mimi Sheraton on Getting Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables


While most literary sleuths are busy trying to discern whether and how Jessica (Mrs. Jerry) Seinfeld plagiarized recipes from a similar cookbook by Missy Chase Lapine, I say: a plague on both their houses. Both propose a culinary scheme that is, basically, totally stupid, to say nothing of dishonest. Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious and Lapine's The Sneaky Chef advocate tricking kids into eating their fruits and, mostly, their veggies by pureeing them and oozing them into acknowledged goodies. Think mushes of cauliflower, squash, spinach, and avocado leaked into brownies, chocolate pudding, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Even hot cocoa, to which Seinfeld wants you to add mashed sweet potatoes; Lapine advises cherry juice.

The twin major flaws in this faulty reasoning, are that, first, children get the wrong message that sweets and starches are good for them. After all, if you tell your offspring to stop eating brownies, he might not get enough iron via spinach. With the dangerous rise of childhood obesity and diabetes, do we really want to encourage the eating of sugars and starches? And, ultimately, and more seriously perhaps, lying to children via trickery—even "for their own good"—can feed a lifetime of distrust, as it should. I wonder how these undercover mothers keep their secrets. Are children locked out of the kitchens at cooking time, lest they see Mommy slipping pureed zucchini into their beloved mac 'n' cheese?

A second problem raised by this hide-the-veggies duo is the invisibility of vegetables in their own recognizable forms. As a result, children are not afforded the opportunity to get used to the idea of trying and learning about them. Nor will they consider them necessary for good health."

—Mimi Sheraton, author and former New York Times food critic, in an Oct. 24, 2007 column in Slate

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