Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bah Humbug

Apparently, I don't possess an immune system. This is the only conclusion I can draw from the fact that I'm a sneezy, snorfly mess for the third time in TWO MONTHS. That doesn't even seem possible. But I do live with a man who has been trying to hack up a lung for over a week now, and a child who's in training to replace Typhoid Mary, so there you have it. And it makes me crabby.

In other news, David got me Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious for Hanukkah (he wasn't trying to hint anything; I asked for it) and I finally had a chance to read it cover to cover yesterday. My findings? Jessica Seinfeld is apparently a cyborg.

She cheerfully details how she sets out trays of crudite and dip "fifteen minutes" before dinner is ready (how does she have that timing down?) in case the children can't wait until the real meal is ready. And if they only nibble at dinner after that, she doesn't have to worry, since they're getting their nutrients. Right--that would have me twisting my sheets in knots into the wee hours, too.

Then there's her Sunday evening "date night" of choice, during which she chats with her husband while she chops and processes "a week's worth" of vegetable and fruit purees to freeze, which only takes an hour (!) Then she's all set for that week's healthy recipes, into which she craftily slips a dollop of cauliflower here and a glop of butternut squash there, and her angels are none the wiser. It's so naughty; I can't stand it!

She even has the kids weigh in with charming little endnotes, such as when Sasha, age 6, comments that her mother can easily whip up whole-grain French toast with fruit puree "even when I'm late for school." Me, too, definitely. I've got Jarrah's French toast in one pan while I'm coddling the hell out of David's Eggs Benedict in another. I'm just a multi-tasker that way; there's no help for it.

The recurring graphic of Jessica, with her round eyes and pert ponytail, makes me think of the '50s, perhaps because that was probably the last time women spent their days entirely focused on their family's meals. (Ironically, I've read recently that the '50s were a low point for "whole food" consumption, because cans, bottles and boxes were seen as the wave of the future--hence all the jars of Ragu in the wonderful '50s-era series Mad Men.)

Perhaps you've heard tell of the brou-ha-ha surrounding the publication of this book at the very same time as another, very similar book which was not written by a rich comedian's wife. Of course, Jessica publicly professed total ignorance of the other book, claiming that she's been in the test kitchen for several years now, whipping up purees, tossing them into otherwise decent-sounding food, and then forcing her family to eat it so they get the correct ratio of beta carotene to Vitamin B each day.

And now that I've read the book? I believe her--100 percent. I just wish I had someone to make me broccoli-infused brownies. Clearly, I'm not going to do it, and my immune system could apparently use the jump-start.

7 comments:

Type (little) a said...

I don't know. Pureed spinach in brownies? This 30 year old picky eater would turn her nose up at that.

Assuming it's not all BS. Because I'm taken aback that she actually cooks. Because if I had the money, a chef would be my very FIRST hire.

Robyn said...

Yeah, I'm not buying it either. Her kids are going to be all bound up just from the stress of it all! They'll need to eat pureed organic prunes every day for the rest of their lives just to stay regular. Even if it is true...and I'm not saying it is...it sounds like she's missing the forest for the trees. She should spend some time getting dirty and messy and dancing with her kids like no one is watching - or reading about it. I think it's good for kids to know that veggies are part of a meal. I know this is a cookbook and all, but it sounds like more work than most parents are going to do.

Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of Jessica Seinfeld due to the trashy way she ended up connected to her current husband (of whom I am also not a fan). Trashy, trashy, trashy.

smittenknitten said...

When I read the cookbook I found the some of the recipes interesting and potentially tasty, but I don't think I'd actually make anything out of it. I'm not a big fan of disguising food, I think it sets kids up for disaster later.

I can see it now a teenager Olivia telling her therapist "my trust issues with my parents all started when I discovered they'd been spiking my brownies with broccoli..." :).

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you need your brownies infused with something else! ;)

I suspect Jessica Simpson has a nanny.

Get well!

Best, Gail

Sam said...

Hee! You're right, Gail.

Also, it's Jessica Seinfeld. Though I love the idea of Jessica Simpson cooking ANYTHING. Chicken of the Sea, maybe? ;)

Cheri said...

Sam, good one. I had this very post in my head for quite a while after I heard about this book, but I could not have said it better.

When I heard about Deceptively Delicious, all I could think was: OMG! Jessica, what favor do you think you're doing for your kids exactly? The expectations you've created, Jessica. What a lot of enabling and kowtowing your poor little darlings will expect from the rest of the world after you've gone to such lengths to protect them from the horrors of -- dare I say it? -- vegetables! Jessica, dear, stop the madness and teach your kids to eat a vegetable that looks like itself. They can handle it, and they'll be better for it!

I was amused when I read somewhere that Jerry sits in the kitchen with Jessica every week while she purees. If she can truly keep a man, particularly that one, sitting in the kitchen for however long it really takes to make a week's worth of purees, then she must be an absolute wonder in the bedroom too.

But I don't have any strong feelings on the subject one way or the other. ;-)~

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I was interested in this book, but now I am just annoyed with Jessica Seinfeld. In fact, I thought most parents figured this trick out. I have been known to hide veggies in smoothies. It tricks Joy, but Paul can always taste them!

OXOX,

Mary