Monday, October 22, 2007

Delicious Drama

If you haven’t been sipping mojitos under a rock somewhere
for the past few weeks, you know about Jessica Seinfeld’s new book, Deceptively Delicious. She’s made the
rounds on the talk show circuit, hitting the mother load (quite literally) with
her appearance on Oprah on October 8. Her book, which has been touted as borderline
revolutionary by some pretty powerful people, offers sneaky recipes that slip broccoli
and squash in under the radar in such dishes as chicken nuggets and brownies.

This is hardly a new idea to most moms out there. We’ve all
tried sneaking veggies in our kids’ food. I throw broccoli in my spaghetti
sauce and mix carrots with my rice, hoping beyond hope that my kids don’t
notice it and accidently slip some nutrients into their high-fructose corn
syrup-lined mouths. It has never crossed my mind to put vegetables in sweets so
I will give Mrs. Seinfeld props for that one. But should I?

Several days ago I was perusing my favorite blogs when I
read about the drama surrounding Deceptively
on Moving
Mama’s Blog
. The drama has elevated to a national level. Check out this
. Apparently a very similar cookbook entitled, The Sneaky Chef by a lesser-known Mary Chase Lapine, was released 6
months earlier. It appears Mrs. Seinfeld’s book was hardly revolutionary. It
was a redo, a second act. Deceptively
has topped the New York Times bestseller list and is on a sales
roll, hardly a surprise given Jessica Seinfeld’s coveted Oprah appearance.
Lapine’s fans are not happy. They feel slighted by
Oprah’s move to back Seinfeld’s book without giving any credit to it’s
predecessor.  Does anyone really think
that Jessica would have appeared on the show if her last name wasn’t Seinfeld?
Come on.

This isn’t Oprah’s first time down this road. Anyone
remember James
This is a much less sensitive situation but it still relates to
readers and their acute sense of justice and loyalty for the craft and
consumption of writing. I wonder if Oprah will address the controversy by
having both mom chefs on her show. Maybe they could have a kid cook-off. The
chef that sneaks the most veggies into an unsuspecting panel of toddlers wins
the bragging rights. Now that’s a show I’d watch!


  1. I do admire Oprah, but I make a point of not watching her show. Perhaps I am just jealous of the power she wields.
    As for the Seinfeld book being revolutionary, my mom was an expert at adding beets to chocolate cake and sweetening treats with fruit juice.
    I hope Ms. Lapine gets some favorable backlash out of all this.

  2. I like the idea of a cook-off. That would definitely make for a good show. I saw her on Oprah but turned it on late so I didn't know her name. I thought her recipes sounded interesting. The next day on Regis and Kelly they mentioned her name and how she was married to Jerry Seinfeld-and that's when I realized.

  3. I just slipped out from under my rock to catch up on things. This is not a big news story up here...
    It's a good idea though. Hell, let's throw our kids trust out the window! They gotta have something that's not an Oreo.
    But beets in chocolate cake? Ewwww.

  4. I demand the cook-off! Blind celebrity love must end!

  5. Keli-
    Me too. This whole controversy will do nothing but increase book sales for both cooks. Ms. Lapine should make some cash as a result of it.

  6. Maribeth-
    I just casually watched Oprah while i worked. I kept thinking that this was not an original idea and wished I had come up with it. My last name is not Seinfeld, however, so it probably would have been difficult to find a publisher.

  7. Leanne-
    I never thought about the whole trust issue. I guess I just don't care that much :)
    My son would have a conniption if he found out I put broccoli into his chicken nuggets. Plus, it would actually require me to hand make a chicken nugget. Who does that?

  8. New Diva-
    I couldn't agree more. Blind celebrity love is a crock. How about some blind Julianne love? Anyone?

  9. Bring on the cookoff! What's Jessica Sklar Seinfeld gonna do without her full kitchen staff? C'mon! That woman hasn't actually turned on a stove to feed her kids OR bathed them before bed. She's got servants to do it for her. Why is she being lauded as a clever cook, or for that matter, as a mom, "just like the rest of us?"
    Oprah, for a real mom, call me. Sorry I can't help you with the cooking thing, tho.

  10. Your writing is very good, and funny! I don't like the idea of lying to children. My mother lied to us one Thanksgiving about the meat. It tasted like lamb. The four of us kids hated lamb. "Oh, no, it's not lamb," she said. We kid her about it today.But she never lied to us about food again.
    Not having children to cook for, I saw the book differently. I might try the veggie brownies, to get more fiber in my food. I do think Lapine deserves credit somewhere. It would only be fair. Jessica Seinfeld is a very smart woman. Surely she knew of Lapine's work.
    Please visit my blog anytime. I just posted a Cheese grits recipe for the Dalai Lama.