NEW YORK — Jessica Seinfeld's first two cookbooks "Deceptively Delicious" and "Double Delicious" showed parents how to sneak vegetables into their kids' meals.
She may have helped some families, but she realized there still were plenty who wouldn't try her recipes — or any recipes — because of their fear of the kitchen.
That made her think: "'You know, I haven't solved this problem,' which is the fear of going into the kitchen and turning on the stove or shopping for the right ingredients ... I like to solve problems, so I said, 'I'm going to look into this.'"
The result is "The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified" (Atria Books).
AP: A lot of people who don't cook regularly will tackle a really ambitious recipe with a lot of ingredients or prep and then get overwhelmed. Are your recipes easy to follow?
Seinfeld: I created these with just a few ingredients because I don't like to cook with a lot of ingredients and for beginners you really get tripped up the more steps you add in and the more flavors you add in. I really just try to use a few high quality ingredients that people can find pretty much anywhere.
AP: When did you start cooking?
Seinfeld: I've been cooking since I was really young. My mom would call me before she left work and kind of tell me, 'Here's how you do this and this is how you help me get started with dinner.' Dinner would sort of be halfway ready for her. And then she would leave me sticky notes when she got ready in the morning sometimes and as I got older I could just really help her get the meal going before she got home.
AP: Also, there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with cooking for yourself.
Seinfeld: It's a good thing to be in control of and a basic life skill in a way that you can take care of yourself. It's more economical, it's better for you and in the end, personally I hate not being good at something. I hate feeling like, 'Oh, I can't do that.'
AP: Going back to your first two cookbooks, do you still have to hide vegetables from your kids?
Seinfeld: No! Luckily my kids eat vegetables now and they want salad every night. It's incredible for me that it worked.
AP: Are you mindful that you're in this position where you don't have financial stress (being married to Jerry Seinfeld)?
Seinfeld: Oh, for me in my life to not have financial stress, I don't even know what to do with that. It's really one of the things that motivated me to start Baby Buggy (a nonprofit organization that distributes new and gently used essentials to families). I felt so overwhelmed to not have financial stress that I couldn't get it out of my head. I'm very aware of what things cost. I've given that to my children because the first thing they ask is, 'Is that expensive? Is that too expensive?' Not having financial stress for me is actually stressful.