Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Dinner Time Deception

When the Munchkin was brand new, I watched every step of development with wonder and awe. I firmly believed that I would never lie to her. I planned to explain every decision, vowing to never use the hated phrase: Because I said so. And in the beginning it was easy to hold these ideals. She simply didn’t argue with me. She ate what I gave her and watched me with wide attentive eyes.

And then we fell down the other side of the mountain. Her willful side kicked into high gear and life got exponentially more difficult. My little Munchkin does everything in her own time. She refuses to be swayed by even largest show of force. So where did that leave me? I found my way into the world of subterfuge.

My mother sent me a copy of Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. This book has been around for a while now, but just in case you haven’t come across it, I explain. The idea is that you make fruit and vegetable purees, and store them in the freezer. Then you add them into your kids’ favorite recipes to sneak in extra vitamins and nutrients. My first experiment was with banana bread, the recipes called for cauliflower puree. The Hubbie said “Mmmmm this good. New recipe?” I laughed so hard I nearly fell over. Well I never said I was a good spy. The jig was up with him. He became my co-conspirator.

Over the last two years I’ve added squash puree into Mac and Cheese, carrot puree into meatloaf, summer squash into “plain” buttered noodles. However my daughter’s favorite dish is something she calls pink pancakes. Can you guess what makes them pink? It’s beets, a vegetable she won’t touch in its original form. This particular recipe also uses ricotta cheese so she’s unknowingly getting protein and vegetables. It’s a real powerhouse. And when I pull the beet puree out of the fridge she calls it the “bag of pink.”

As I progress through motherhood I find issues that shouldn’t be avoided or ignored as well as little moments, like these, where nutrition is more important. I’ve even gotten her to eat baked eggs with cauliflower puree because I called them puffs and she got her own little cup. In this case it’s not so much deception as artful presentation.

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