The following tricks are divided into two categories, both equally indispensable. The first section is to help YOU eat whatever you want left alone in peace, and sans guilt. The second part is to assist you in getting your children to eat healthier fare. Paradoxical? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
- Bottom’s Up: In private, turn any unfrosted cake, (Bundt, pound or loaf, etc.) onto its side and proceed to ingeniously cut a thin slice from the bottom part for your indulgence. Using dental floss to shave it off is a great help with this feat but buy the unflavored kind unless you like mint with your angel food? Note: You can do this approximately four and a half times before the cake starts getting discernibly shorter and your guests’ brows raise as they begin to refer to it as a pie.
- The Latest From Paris: Spooning brownie batter into your mouth is actually more sinfully scrumptious than eating the fully baked confection itself. And virtually undetectable because who has ever seen a tall brownie? You can also just drink batter through a straw like you’re sipping on a luscious thick malt. Betty Crocker would make a fortune if she started packaging brownie mixes that stated, “8 extra spoonfuls included for mom’s sanity” printed under the ingredients. However if the end result (your baked pan of brownies) drops below an 1/8 of an inch thick, a renaming will be in order. Say confidently at the dining table, “These are NOT brownies. They’re a trendy new dessert craze from France –“Brepes”….a combination of crepes and brownies. Wallah!
- Glamorous Goodies: If you’ve already gobbled cookies from a package that you just purchased that very afternoon (i.e. Oreos or Chips Ahoy) and you don’t want to hear “Mom! Who already ate these?” simply arrange the store bought treats on a pretty plate and set it on the table. Bonus points for sliding an elegant doily underneath. To avoid this scenario entirely in the future, buy only bagged cookies so nobody can count up (this isn’t why math is taught!) the vacant plastic slots and calculate how many Nutter Butters are missing.
- Caution Signs: Write stern little warnings that say, “Do NOT eat this. I’m saving for tomorrow night’s Bridge Club. Or Mahjong group. Or any other card game that Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz used to play that requires serving impressive refreshments. Warning: At this point you better at least learn about trumping and building walls so you can talk a good game the next evening when you whisk the baked goods off in your car to drive around the corner and luxuriate in solitude.
- Deceptive Desserts:Trying to sneak anything healthy into your children by finely grating it into a sweet batter is so old school. Jerry Seinfeld’s wife did an entire book on this and then languished in Puree Hell. Kids are smart and will suspiciously examine their birthday cake for evidence of carrots or zucchini and give their muffins a watchful eye for applesauce. Anything pulverized will be immediately spat out. So reverse the process. Rather than pureeing the nutritious thing, puree the unhealthy thing and inject it deep inside. Example: Take a carrot, hollow it out and fill with minced or blended Hershey’s chocolate. The child will gleefully delight in avoiding the pureed center of the carrot (thinking that’s the nutritious part you’ve tried to pull one over on him with) and you’ve just scored a kid who won’t be called four-eyes. That is, if you believe old wives’ tales about carrots improving vision.
- Freud Who?:Remember Psych 101, Pavlov’s dog, and classical conditioning! Every time the child eats a chocolate chip cookie, ring a bell. The child will soon associate bells with pleasurable taste sensations. But after a while when the child’s guard is down, ring a bell as he eats oatmeal. Then salmon. And why not go for brussel sprouts? “Ring, ring!” Disclaimer: Future Avon Ladies, playing Ding Dong Ditch, or reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls” may prove traumatizing for him later in life.
- What’s In a Name?: Do bizarre things with celery but forget Ants on a Log. That phrase just kills it. Who eats insects? Substitute chocolate chips for those raisins. Then give the kid a further break and swap peanut butter in for the cottage cheese. Relax mom, the original celery is still in the picture. But get a new and improved catchphrase, will ya? How about “Let the Chips Fall Where They May?” or “Chip off the Old Block.” You can do this!
- Great Expectations: Refrain from your rehearsed evil “mwahahaha” laugh when utilizing number 4 from the first section above, only with a clever variation. Make a similar sign stating, “Under no circumstances should you eat what’s wrapped in this tin-foil because it’s something very special for the PTA Bake Sale. Attach this sign to your leftover meatloaf, of course. But don’t bother pre-slicing it into cupcake wrappers — they’ll be expecting just that kind of deception.
Good luck and remember that whoever said, “All is fair in love and war” must’ve had to eat too, so he should’ve written a sequel bumper sticker that proclaimed, “All is fair in the Kitchen as well!”
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