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“A friendly, balanced mix of real food manifesto, vegetable encyclopedia, and regular weeknight cookbook.”
"If your offspring don’t devour the zucchini-bacon fritters and pumpkin white-cheddar soup, you most certainly will."
Posted July 13, 2012
Posted March 4, 2011
Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin wrote The Cleaner Plate Club out of a desire to share what they've learned as they've sought to feed their own families healthy meals and raise healthy children. The first part of the book is about nutrition. Included in this section is a discussion of how to cope when they don't eat and how to feel about it. The authors are not psychologists and wisely don't try to deal with the nonfood aspects of this--they don't deal with the aspects of obedience and discipline. Instead, they focus these two pages on the nutritional aspects and how to view it. The next chapter is about shopping for food. I thought their list of ingredients for a well-stocked pantry was really pretty good. There's a few that I might substitute or say are optional, but for the most part, I think it's a very affordable, well rounded list. The next section explains CSAs and farmer's markets. If you've wondered how a CSA works or what the benefits are, the authors do a good job of explaining them. The remainder (and bulk) of the cookbook is about vegetables with recipes for your family. The recipes I've made have all come out except for one. My husband (and two of my children) loved the chicken chili, the fig balsamic salad dressing (which is about as simple as you can get), and the kale salt and vinegar chips. The kale chips were truly one of the most surprising recipes in the book. I made them on a whim not thinking anyone in my family but my husband would eat them--and all but one of my family loved them! I did also make the tomato and bread soup, which did not turn out to be a hit with my children because they love their Trader Joe's tomato soup and couldn't quite get used to the new texture of this soup.
So, here's my very honest opinion, I do love this cookbook. But, though these recipes are family friendly, they may not be eaten by your picky eaters. I think children who normally eat vegetables will love the recipes in this cookbook. I was pretty shocked when my oldest daughter, a non picky eater, gobbled up the kale chips. I hadn't even tried to get her to eat kale. And some picky eaters may grow to love these recipes. At the very least, the recipes in this cookbook are a great place to start. They aren't too spicy, but they are flavorful dishes (just go light on the salt the first time you make the kale chips). I don't have especially high hopes for my middle daughter, but I hope that she will eventually grow to love other foods. She has been more willing of late at least to take a few bites and has been able to swallow them--I know that sounds extreme, but I am sincere when I say that I really do have a picky eater. I think it's a trap that we as parents can begin to fall into when we cater to our picky children and stop cooking dishes that we enjoy. I've heard from several moms that they just can't do it anymore so they just start feeding their kids nuggets and mac and cheese every night. I don't want to go down that road. I love food. I especially love good food! If 2 of my 3 children will eat a dish, then I consider it a successful meal. So, if majority rules, this cookbook is a winner in our house. It doesn't have all the answers for your picky eaters, nor does it pretend to. But, it will be a good guide to help you know what to feed your children, how to shop, and give you some yummy recipes to cook for your family.
Please note that I did receive a complimentary copy of The Cleaner Plate
Posted December 19, 2012
No text was provided for this review.
Posted February 1, 2011
No text was provided for this review.