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Deceptively Delicious – Cookbook Review

posted in Lists and Leftovers by Kathy Maister

With all the great celebrity endorsements that it has already received, I have to ask myself, is the new book by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry’s wife) something one would buy who does not have a private chef, round the clock nannies, six personal assistants, and rides in private jets?

The whole premise of this book is to get kids to eat healthily, by “hiding” pureed vegetables and fruits in everyday foods that your kids eat. The idea is quite brilliant and not as far-fetched as you might think.

Traditionally, we all have enjoyed carrot cake, pumpkin muffins and zucchini bread. Adding pureed vegetables in small un-noticeable amounts, so as not to change the flavor too much, is indeed a great way to add veggies to a child’s diet.

I must stress though that the recipes in this book are very healthy to begin with. It’s not quite like adding ketchup to your Big Mac and counting that as a vegetable. Mixing in some puree sweet potato or butternut squash to shredded cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich is more the theme here. The brownies made with spinach and carrot puree sound most intriguing! According to Joy Bauer, the resident dietician for this book, the brownies each have 133 calories, and 3 grams of fiber. Forget the kids, I want one of these! (Oops, maybe not-see PS at the bottom of this post!)

My only reservation about this book is how much advanced planning is needed to make these unique and health-conscious recipes. In the very beginning of this book, Jessica says that “no training or kitchen knowledge whatsoever” is necessary to make these recipes. That is true if you have a well stocked kitchen, with both food and equipment, and know your way around the kitchen. Many fans of my site, would be hard pressed to figure out how to make all these purees from scratch. I would probably recommend buying a few jars of puree baby food just to get a jump start on some of these recipes.

The BEST part of this book is all the parenting tips. Everyone who has children should buy this book for that reason alone. All of these tips are creatively dispersed throughout the book with quotes from (famous) moms, Jessica’s children and of course Jerry. The format, layout, and design of Deceptively Delicious are totally retro and work brilliantly. I also like that almost all the recipes have photos to match. At I have discovered a picture is worth a thousand words!


P.S. I made the brownies and served them to some friends. They were AWFUL! No one ate more than one bite. If you are going to eat brownies, SPLURGE and eat the real thing!

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Felicia said:

Thanks for reviewing the book!

And it was a delight to find your site; I’m a foodie as well :)

Cheers, Felicia

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Felicia-Thanks! I LOVE your site-It is so much more than just food!

Rhonda said:

Thanks so much for the review. I love your site.

and i love Jessica’s new book. I picked it up and have loved the recipes so far, but I am not cooking for kids, im cooking for myself and my boyfriend, we’re both twenty somethings…. do you know any other cookbooks or websites where i can find more recipies using vegie Purees?

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Rhonda! You might want to check out the cookbook called The Sneaky Chef. It also uses veggie purees in their recipes.

Leanne Luehrman said:

Hi – I agree with the advanced prep issue – I cooking for kids and so far I have received mixed reviews – my daughter is still mad at me for putting chick peas in the chocolate chip cookies – but my son didn’t even notice them – I did, but it was only strange for a moment as the taste was replaced with that of warm chocolate chips!

Also, I’d rather tell my kids that we are going to try a way to get our veggies in a non-threatening way, instead of deceiving them. So, bottom line – we’ll see how it goes.

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Leanne, I made the Brownies with the spinach and found the spinach flavor to be intense. I did serve them to some friends and those that knew took one bite and never finished them. Those that did not know ate the whole brownie!

Birgitt Brown said:

I was very excited about getting the new Jessica Seinfeld book Deceptively Delicious and immediately ran out to the grocery store to buy out the store of their veggies so I could start pureeing. I am very sad to report that I have been very disappointed by all the recipes I have tried. The chicken nuggets looked nothing like the picture and was very gloopy(for lack of a better word). The puree mixture and bread crumb mixtures did not stick to the chicken and therefore completely fell apart as it was frying. It actually did not taste to bad but my kids (for whom all this work was for) would not touch it with a ten foot pole because of its appearance. The macaroni and cheese also turned out to be one big glob, not at all creamy the way the picture depicted. The chocolate chip cookies were very cakey although not too bad. The burgers were impossible to keep together in the pan and turned out to be more of a sloppy joe. I really like Jessica Seinfeld and have been very disappointed with the book so far.

maca extract said:

Maybe it’s about the quality of the products you are using for coking, because all the recipes i tryed from jessica cookbook were just fine. I mean… not like in the pictures, but were ok, and tasty..

Cathy Ross said:

I love this book too and can’t wait to start in on the recipes.

The only thing I have against it, is that it somewhat undermines the idea of cooking with your kids as you try to hide ingredients they don’t normally like in their food.

Kathy Maister said:

My one word of caution is that making these purees is a time consuming endeavor! I have discovered that a food processor works better than a blender, at least for the spinach. Try to make these purees in large quantities and then freeze them in small, recipe size containers. For many new cooks here at this is a pretty daunting task!

Jessica said:

I am a stay at home mom and recently started loving cooking a lot. They baby is a toddler now and it is much easier. Anyway I bought this book and got obsesses quickly with pureeing. Some things have turned out okay and some great. I never follow a recipe exactly. It is a learning process with how much puree to put into things. I modified the pita pizzas by using whole wheat bagels and shredded mozzerella. I put too much spinach on them. They were okay. We all agreed they will be better next time with a little less spinach. Overall it has been a hit and I added cauliflower to my biscuits and gravy this morning and it worked perfectly. I use this book everyday!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Jessica,
Yes there is a bit of trial and error needed to figure out which purees work for your tastes. I applaud your efforts!
Have you tried making pumpkin muffins or zucchini bread? They are my favorites!

Amor said:

Developing a good diet for our children is a little bit hard for some mothers out there, thanks for this wonderful review because they can now be aware of what’s new and what’s good for their child’s meals. All of the busy mothers out there should read this review and learn the new breakthroughs of having a healthy diet for your child.

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