When a book called "Deceptively Delicious" was recently published, it prompted a double-barreled debate about ethics—those of its author and that of its premise.
Surprisingly, “Deceptively Delicious” is a cookbook.
Subtitled “Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food”, the book extols the strategy of deceiving finicky young eaters by hiding veggies in the few foods they deign to down. Pureed spinach in the brownies. Pureed cauliflower in the mac and cheese.
The book’s author, Jessica Seinfeld—aka, Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld—was soon accused of plagiarism by the writer of a competing cookbook who claimed to have camouflaged carrots long before Ms. Seinfeld buried beets in chocolate cake. The writer sued the Seinfelds after noting “uncanny similarities” between the two books.
Denying the charges, Ms. Seinfeld’s book shot to the top spot in its category on The New York Times best sellers list. But at the same time, an even more intense debate was being stirred by professionals and parents who claim that hiding the truth about vegetables from kids is an unethical and irresponsible form of deception.
“Lying to children via trickery—even ‘for their own good’—can feed a lifetime of distrust, as it should,” declared a famous food critic. A well-known nutritionist concurred: “It will not develop an appreciation of the flavors, textures, and interests of various vegetables.”
All of which prompted Ms. Seinfeld to put down her spoon and take to her website, asking these questions about food—if not life: “Does a hidden vegetable in a child’s food amount to lying? Is it ever okay to deceive children or do we owe them the whole truth—and the whole vegetables? Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, for instance, are outright fictions…with which the vast majority of parents in this country routinely choose to deceive their children. Is that wrong? I don’t think so.”
What do you think?