How to feed the kids vegetables without resorting to subterfuge

Remember the book The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine? And remember the book Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica, wrote? The one entitled Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food?

Both books teach you how to sneak nice, healthy vegetables into your kids foods. A concept Marion Nestle, author of the excellent What To Eat wholeheartedly disagrees with.

"Philosophically and practically, this is not really an effective approach," says Nestle in a wonderful article in Slate. "It will not develop an appreciation of the flavors, textures, and interests of various vegetables, which is what you should try to do by introducing them over and over again until they catch on."

So what is a parent to do? A new book answers that question. And it answers it for the entire family.

Revised, and revised again, I can see why they keep bringing back Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books).

First, the book is loaded with tons of helpful information such as what to feed kids who don’t like vegetables. And, second, while this book is not vegetarian, there are tons of recipes an almost vegetarian can enjoy. Such as whole grain baby cereal and apple miso almond butter sandwich. Red lentil soup with east Indian spices and blueberry-strawberry tart. And even seitan and shiitake mushrooms in cashew mirin sauce.

So you can see both the enormous scope of this book and how wonderful it is, I am going to do something I rarely do, print the table of contents. Then, afterward, I am going to include a recipe from the book so you, too, can enjoy.

Feeding the Whole Family table of contents
Wholesome Family Eating
Including Baby
Raising Healthy Eaters
Basic Grain and Bean Cookery
Bustling Breakfasts
Lively Lunch Boxes
Soothing Soups
Substantial Suppers
Got Color?
Fresh-Baked Breads and Muffins
Refreshing Relishes, Convenient Condiments
Simple Sweet Desserts
Daily Drinks and Brews
Vegetarian recipe: Creamy Broccoli Soup
1 or 2 large stems of broccoli with flowerets
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 C. chopped onions
½ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coriander
2 C. diced potatoes
½ C. chopped celery
31/2-4 C. water
2 tsp. cashew butter
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Cut off the broccoli flowerets, cut into bite sized pieces and reserve. Peel the broccoli stems and dice into small pieces. Heat oil in a 3-quart pot. Add onions, salt and coriander. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions cook down to a nice mush (15-20 minutes).

Add the broccoli stem pieces, potatoes, celery, and water to the onion mush; cover and simmer until the potatoes are soft (15-20 minutes). Put the soup mixture in a blender with cashew butter and blend till smooth. Run the soup through a strainer to remove celery strings.

Bring a pan of water to a boil. Drop in the broccoli flowerets and let them cook about 30 seconds. Stir blanched flowerets into finished soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Makes 6 servings

For Babies 6 Months & Older: Reserve some blanched broccoli flowerets and puree with a few slices of ripe avocado.

For Babies 10 Months & Older: Reserve a portion of pureed soup for baby before adding the blanched flowerets.