It’s All in the Marketing

From the mailbox:

Dear Jenny,

About a month ago we were having chili for dinner. Our son hates chili. All types. Tomato, white bean chicken, we have battled over it all. I have pushed, he has pursed (his lips tightly). I have threatened (which I know is not the way to promote healthy attitudes toward food), he has cried (I’m not proud of this). Anyway, he asked what we were having for dinner  this night and I said, “Chili.” But instantly I recalled these words which I had read only hours before, “It’s all about marketing.” and so I quickly changed the title. “Actually, I mean, it’s soup. Two bean, ground beef, tomato soup…on a potato.” “Oh. It really looks like chilli.” he replied. “I know, crazy huh?”  He then proceed to eat the. whole. bowl, asked for more and did not complain about it once.  Yes, it really is all about marketing.

So, in closing, I’m so glad Amazon recommended your book and I’m so glad to have been introduced to your blog through it (aaaand  books we love??! Oh man your blog was really made for me!) I love it.

Sincerely a very happy reader,
Katie Leonard

Thanks Katie! PS: Here’s the “two-bean, ground beef, tomato soup” that works in our house. And, incidentally fits right into my More Freezer Dinner School Year Resolution Plan. PPS: The photo above is from my book, which has a whole chapter devoted to my personal experience with my very own (recovered) picky eater. Do you have a marketing plan?

PLUS: Help for Lunch-Packing Dreaders! (To my knowledge, that includes all parents of all school-age children?)  A back-to-school interview I did with Epicurious.

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yep! my son swears burger king is delicious, even though he has never had it, because the commercials on saturday morning cartoons told him it was. he also loved the fish cakes from your book because there is CAKE in the title. he ate the sausage and pea risotto last night because 1. he helped add the parmesan 2. i told him it was like rice pudding but for dinner and with sausage. – it’s totally in the marketing.


Love it!! Like Katie, I also love the book and blog. Just stumbled upon it this summer and I have cooked numerous meals from the book and enjoy simply reading it for ideas, inspiration and motivation. And all meals have been a hit with my husband and 3 kids (10, 7 and 3)!

When my daughter was about 3, she freaked out about pepper. At first, I tried to not use it on her food, but that proved difficult. One night when she saw black spots in the mashed potatoes and was about to refuse to eat, I said, “Oh, no – it’s not pepper. It’s seasoning. You will like it.” One bite and she was hooked. Seven years later we still call it seasoning and she now tells her brothers if they ever freak out, “It’s just seasoning. I like it and you will, too.” Honestly, I’m not sure if she has realized it’s pepper yet or not, but I’m not ready to share and find out. 🙂 I like the “seasoning”, too.


It is all about the marketing! “Fries” come in three colors at our dinner table; orange (sweet potato), green (roasted green beans) and red (roasted red pepper strips). You can only get white fries at restaurants a a special treat once in a while. It totally works.


Oh yes. Its so funny what they get in their heads. My son is fairly adventurous and open to trying new things but he still thinks the edamame he eats 2x a week are called “big peas” because he insists he doesn’t like edamame.


Yes! For the longest time whenever I made tuna casserole I told my son that it was chicken. I also successfully got him to eat scallops by telling him the same thing.


I think I must have really lucked out in the kid eater department because my two young boys will eat pretty much whatever I put in front of them. And I’m a stickler for healthy eating. But the one thing both of them had a hard time learning to like was salad. We called it bunny food and told them it would give them big, strong muscles, and after a few tries, they were eating it without complaint.

I enjoyed the Epicurious interview on school lunches. I wrote a recent post with some fresh ideas for lunch on my blog. Here is the link for the post:


My kids are the opposite — they will eat any soup so long as it’s described as chili. Green chili, potato chili — they just want to be sure I’m going to let them dollop sour cream on it!


I just have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog – love the writing, love the sensibilities, love the ideas! I have teenagers who have both been pretty good eaters throughout their lives – with some funny issues and stages but nothing I couldn’t manage. They both broke through the raw tomato barrier this summer, thankfully – we are overloaded and eating some form of tomato meal several nights per week! Bruschetta, flatbread pizzas, pasta with fresh tomato sauce, panzanella… I have always worked full time, and I have always cooked “real” meals, made things on the weekend to freeze or repurpose, planned ahead. Where we fell down was eating together, between sports practices and evening meetings and just plain exhaustion encouraging us to treat our dinner simply as a quick refueling mission. You have inspired me to have the family gather as frequently as we are able for the evening meal. It won’t happen every night during the school year, but the feeling of satisfaction it brings me on the nights we manage carries me through to the next time. Thanks!!

Michelle in Montana

My kids were not picky eaters, they would, seriously, eat ANYTHING, even as toddlers!
When they got to school, they heard all the garble from other kids and suddenly I began to hear things like,”I don’t like spinach”, so I just called it chard, etc….it worked without fail!
Marketing, baby! I have nieces and nephews that are picky and my marketing always worked on them too, if their parents weren’t around….that is the key there!


This is NOT just a kid issue! My husband’s mother wasn’t much of a cook so there were a lot of things he thought he didn’t like because he had either never actually eaten them or had them in some mangled form. 21 years in and his palate has broadened considerably. Now he loves spinach and asparagus and lima beans and fish and, after years of experimenting, even Brussel sprouts! Unfortunately he still has some issues about “mixed” food. He’s a definite delineated protein/starch/vegetable advocate! 🙂 But I’m an advenurous cook/eater and some of my favorite comfort foods are those “mixed” foods: chicken pot pie, stews, brownstone pie, etc. I know if I say we’re having something like that he’ll make a face and say something about a bowl of cereal. When he eats it he likes it, it’s just the idea he has to get past. So last night, with this post in mind, I showed him components that I knew he would be on board with (bacon and cornbread mix) and then my assembled bowl of a split square of cornbread topped with a stroganoffy-style chicken stew (heavier on the veg than the chicken) and garnished with a little crumbled bacon. I told him this was the plan but that he was welcome to have a bowl of stew with a piece of cornbread on the side if he preferred. If I had said we were having creamed chicken on cornbread I would have gotten that “look”, instead he had seconds! I think next time I get a yen for something like this I’m going to push the envelope a little farther and go for cornmeal waffles under the chicken! All he has to know upfront is that it involves bacon. 🙂 Thanks, Jenny!