What they’re saying

Here’s what a few folks have said about The Cleaner Plate Club:

The book:

From The Chicago Tribune:

“The Cleaner Plate Club” won’t tell you that you’re a bad parent because your kid is a picky eater. Authors Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin won’t brag about how their own kids gulp down sushi or delight in mommy’s made-from-scratch carrot souffle. They won’t even tell you that you have to be a stealth cook, hiding spinach in brownies and zucchini in mac ‘n’ cheese. They’ll just show you how to make simple, delicious, kid-friendly food, support you in your efforts to get it on the table and remind you that, if worse comes to worst (as it often does when the food critics are too young to crayon without supervision) tomorrow is another day.”


Before you dismiss it as another finger-pointing, eat-your-vegetables parenting book, be warned: It’s not. This book comes with lots of information, a witty sense of humor, and even an any-mistake-you-made-we-made-it-too attitude.

From the Kansas City Star:

Bader and Benjamin’s book is packed with both familiar-sounding recipes (mac and cheese with ham and broccoli) and many that aren’t (honey-spice roasted cauliflower and curried eggplant with long beans). This is more than a cookbook, though. The pair also tackles pickiness, high-fructose corn syrup, school lunches and other issues. They offer primers on fats, sugars and e. coli and quote food activists including Marion Nestle and Barbara Kingsolver…(it offers) plenty of do-able recipes, complete with advice on shopping, prepping and adapting whole ingredients.


From Boston Mamas:

“Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin have waded, with great success, into (picky eating) with the recent publication of The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time. The book is a cookbook, with many easy-to-handle recipes that claim to help kids develop their palates without frightening them away from new flavors, but also a good how-to manual for the parent…. The book also contains lots of helpful information — generally presented in a non-preachy way — about nutrition and the food industry and the value of farmers’ markets and the difference between whole foods and processed foods. And while I’ve just begun to explore the recipes, my early efforts with the fish curry (page 221) suggest that I will have a long and happy relationship with The Cleaner Plate Club. Whether your kid eats everything or nothing, this book will have something for you.”

From Library Journal:

“Real moms” and food bloggers Bader and Benjamin join forces to educate, inform, and inspire us about feeding the kids. They’ve endeavored to create a kind of handbook with guidelines for family nutrition by providing healthy recipes, supermarket strategies, and vegetable profiles. Sprinkled with quotations (from Michael Pollan, among others, of course!), the book also includes interesting information on pesticide residues in produce, analyses of oils, and tips for dealing with sugar fiends and balky eaters. The resource section lists organizations, publications, and favorite cookbooks. Presented in a colorful, kid-friendly style, with mom-next-door chatty text, this guide offers advice on what to choose and how to cook it in a fast-food age. VERDICT The market for books on this subject continues to grow following Pollan’s 2006 best seller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and this is a useful addition. Great for public libraries and all readers interested in healthy cooking/shopping for the family.

From The Sacramento Book Review:

If you think that cookbooks geared towards children are all about “kid friendly” (and mostly nutritionally devoid) foods like chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes, you’re clearly not reading the same cookbooks as I am.  Authors and bloggers Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin both believe that having children should not automatically necessitate cooking one meal for the adults and a separate meal for the little ones.  And their book, The Cleaner Plate Club, proves that they know what they’re talking about.

This gem of a cookbook covers all the bases.  Getting to know your vegetables.  Quick breakfast and lunch ideas.  Healthy dinners featuring all kinds of meats, and a superb selection of meatless meals.  And packed in between are pictures, fun little anecdotes about the author’s own kids, pertinent quotations and facts, and even educational blurbs covering topics from eating organically to the author’s own version of the “anti-diet.”

From BookPage:

TOP PICK. The Cleaner Plate Club is thankfully written for Real Parents, meaning we who want the best for our families, but who are very, very tired. We just can’t summon the time and energy to figure out how to provide wholesome, organic, balanced meals every single day…this massive yet peppy manual… is jammed with info: guidelines, pantry lists, meal-planning techniques and time-savers—yet the energetic authors make it feel as fresh as our next family dinner can be, with their plate-cleaning help.”

From Publisher’s Weekly:

“This crayon-colored real food manifesto from mommy bloggers Bader and Benjamin gives parents plenty of ammo in the never-ending battle to get their kids to eat better.”

From The San Francisco Book Review:

“For every parent facing the age old question of how to get kids to eat better food comes The Cleaner Plate Club. This book is more than a cookbook: it is a guide to feeding your children vegetables in a way they will enjoy. The authors, Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin, are both experienced and successful bloggers with children; they know what they’re talking about…The recipes are simple and delicious, the information is eye-opening and thoughtfully arranged, and the overall book design is extremely user-friendly and just plain fun. This book is a valuable resource for parents with children of all ages.”

From Fans of Being a Mom:

“Besides recipes galore, the book includes charming illustrations and a bevy of nutritional and general information tips and insights that are both fascinating and very useful. From shopping tips to a whole section on bringing your family together with food, this book is chock full of Really Good Stuff. It’s earned a coveted space not on our bookshelf, but right on the kitchen counter – where we can refer to it for inspiration and instruction at any moment.”

From Experience Life Magazine:

If your offspring don’t devour the zucchini-bacon fritters and pumpkin white-cheddar soup, you most certainly will.

From Sixty Second Parent:

Besides Nigella Lawson’s “How to Be a Domestic Goddess,” I can’t think of another cookbook that causes me to laugh out loud. From page one, I felt like I was sitting at my table with old friends. This isn’t just a cookbook: it’s an educational arsenal to wield your way with grace and dexterity through the carnival that is the modern American food system…Without increasing my weekly budget, I increased our vegetable consumption at our evening meals by two vegetable dishes a night. It was no longer a battle of eat your veggies,’ but a question of ‘which vegetable would you like to eat tonight?’”

From KCUR, Kansas City Public Radio:

“It’s like Michael Pollan for real people.”

From Mother Earth News:

“Keeping your resolution just got easier, thanks to The Cleaner Plate Club, the incredibly engaging book from esteemed food bloggers Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin…during a time when we’re faced with growing rates of both obesity and hunger, we need to focus on universal ways to take care of ourselves and each other. The Cleaner Plate Club does just that.”

From Recipe Lion:

Not only did these smart women come up with tons of tasty recipes, they’ve included tips how and when you can use them. Think of it as ‘feeding your family for dummies.’ If your house is crazy on weeknights, you absolutely need to make this gem number one in your cookbook collection.”

From The Busy Woman’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood:

This book is so full of great ideas, I can’t even pick a favorite.

From Eat Magazine:

Part cookbook, part manifesto for children’s health, The Cleaner Plate Club aspires to spread a love of fresh, whole foods. A collaboration between two mothers, this book acknowledges the challenges in getting children to accept unprocessed foods in today’s food culture, and offers strategies to overcome these challenges successfully. What is particularly impressive is how they manage to serve up a load of information on nutrition without coming across as preachy. New cooks will enjoy the thorough introduction to whole grains and vegetables, including selection and storage tips as well as suggested favourite preparations. Parents who fall into all cooking levels can appreciate the “Faster-than-drive-thru-dinners” list (pages 176-177) for those nights when you want to get something on the table in fifteen minutes or less.

From MotherTalkers:

‘in the trenches’ and explanatory without being condescending.

From NextReads:

“Co-authors Beth Bader and Alison (Ali) Benjamin met through Ali’s food blog, bonded over kale chips, and launched this book out of shared concern for raising kids on healthy food (wait for it…) that they’ll actually eat! More than a manifesto, it’s a personable modern guide to choosing and cooking tasty, healthful foods for your kids–and you, too. Cheerful graphics and a chatty tone make its recipes, strategies for smart grocery shopping, and nutritional info appealing to the whole family. You’ll love this book’s practicality (as well as Marion Nestle’s What to Eat) if The Omnivore’s Dilemma caught your eye.”

From Odyssey Books:

“This colorful cookbook is great for kids or adults. The introduction profiles different ingredients, as well as shopping strategies and information on nutrition and food in the United States. Other sections include how to cook seasonally, how to convert recipes for your slow-cooker, and why to shop at farmers’ markets. Fun, colorful illustrations and photos accompany these sections. The recipes include such delicious dishes as Pumpkin-White Cheddar Soup, Carrot-Quinoa “Biryani”, and Pumpkin Gnocchi. An informative cookbook for children, parents…just about anyone, really!”

From A Better Bag of Groceries:

The Cleaner Plate Club is a reason to buy a cookbook again.  It is chock-full of amazing recipes that your whole family will love…. It’s a fantastic primer for new cooks.

From Kitchen Daily:

“A friendly, balanced mix of real food manifesto, vegetable encyclopedia, and regular weeknight cookbook.”

From City Parent:

How to eat locally, keep a well-stocked pantry, and distinguish factory-farmed chicken are some of the tips provided in this inspirational recipe book. With creative and informative ways to introduce kids to clean, “real” foods, The Cleaner Plate Club helps readers raise healthy children.

From Miss Chefette:

The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin encompasses a range of ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, and calls for healthier ingredients to produce dishes that are both tasty and nutritious.

From Jeff McIntire Strasburg editor of sustainablog and co-founder of Green Options Media:

I really really like this book…It’s a very thorough book, very readable, very friendly…ultimately, it gives you tons and tons of strategies, recipes, instructions for how to use whole foods — which of course don’t come with instructions — to make mealtime not only more pleasant, but more healthy for the kids and for the rest of the family.

From Love to Know Kids:

The Cleaner Plate Club is a new book with a unique philosophy. Co-written by concerned mother Ali Benjamin and chef Beth Bader, the book includes recipes and lots of tips about how to help your whole family eat healthy foods and enjoy every minute of it. Full of seasonal items and everyday basics, the recipes are easy to make and delicious to eat.

From Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe:

“A down-to-earth guide for busy parents trying to raise healthy kids.”

From Jennifer Shu, MD, co-author of Food Fights:

“In our hectic, fast-paced, busy lives, parents often put healthy eating on the back burner. The Cleaner Plate Club is full of tips to help families go “from nuggets to nutritious.”  Authors Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin remind us how we can enjoy real food again and share recipes that both taste good and are good for you. Their encouraging emphasis on healthy and simple ways to prepare whole foods is enough to turn even the most resistant parent into a “kitchen convert.” A must have for every family’s kitchen!”

The blog:

“…when I came across The Cleaner Plate Club, I cheered. Here’s a mom trying to do exactly what I’ve been struggling to do… already she’s covered a few topics near and dear to my heart: fair trade goods, chemicals in foods (especially those marketed to children…I’m looking at you, Golden Arches), and food safety. She also plans to pass along recipes that are both easy to prepare and have passed her panel of tough experts (her kids).”

- Bethany Sanders, That’s Fit! (thatsfit.com)

“If you are not reading The Cleaner Plate Club please lean in just a little bit so that I can smack you. I always learn something interesting there, and when I saw this recipe I couldn’t wait to try it.”

- Woulda Coulda Shoulda (wouldashoulda.com)

“I am a new reader to this blog but have been blown away the writer’s ability to deliver hard-hitting messages in an inventive manner that makes the news somewhat easier to stomach…This chick has got a true gift – plus, she gets her kids to eat Swiss chard!”

- Green Bean Dreams (greenbeandreams.blogspot.com)

“Forgive me if I unbutton my pants. I’ve just been on a Playdate with The Cleaner Plate Club. Man, that Mama can cook. Plus, she and I are both attempting to make the food that we serve in the house better both in a nutritional and an environmental sense. Which is cool and all — but the best part is that she fails to take herself too seriously…She also makes a mean soup, like this Mostly-Veggie Cheddar Broccoli…I’m so full I think I’ll need to take my pants clean off. Avert your eyes.”

-Adrienne Martini/Stroller Derby (Babble.com)

“I couldn’t give a more thought-provoking and link-packed post if I tried… The Cleaner Plate Club is an amalgam of well-written pieces and recipes.”

- Inside the Shell (inside-the-shell.blogspot.com)

“I also found a blog that I wanted to link as a “blog of the week” only it would
probably be up for the rest of my life. I love it. It’s called the Cleaner Plate Club.”

- Let Your ‘Yes’ Be Yes (pamelotta.blogspot.com)

“I nominate The Cleaner Plate Club (as a Rockin’ Girl blog) , a blog described as ‘one mother’s search for real food.’ This issue is near and dear to my heart right now, and I soak up her suggestions, challenges, recipes. . .she is truly on a mission, and I love that.”

- Fairly Odd Mother (fairlyoddmother.blogspot.com)

The Cleaner Plate Club focuses on healthy food that kids will like. She seeks out recipes that are fresh, healthful, and unsullied. Her blog includes recipes, tips, insights, and makes for great reading.

- Beth Kanter, on Blogher (www.blogher.org)

“a big THANKS to Ali at Cleaner Plate Club for the inspiration on this kale chip recipe. My kiddo eats seconds and thirds, then bogarts the whole bowl. Thank you, thank you!”

- Expat Chef (expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com)

“Everyday heroes: Supermom Ali or the The Cleaner Plate Club blog…has a great post up today about how people frame their relationships with food.”

- The Ethicurean (ethicurean.com)

“Please check out the Cleaner Plate Club. It’s a very informative blog and a must read if you’re at all concerned about what’s going into your family’s mouths. We’ve got to change what’s going on with our food supply.”

-Ten Minutes to Naptime (tenminutestonaptime.blogspot.com)

“Item Number Two is a great blog I’m going to be reading on a regular basis
called The Cleaner Plate Club. Written by a mom documenting her search for real food, it’s insightful, honest, entertaining and just a really good read. She’s got a little bit of everything here– news info, cooking with kids, recipes, book reviews and other good tidbits. It’s good stuff– check it out…”

- Apartment Farm (apartmentfarm.wordpress.com)

“If you haven’t visited Ali, you really must. I had to laugh at this opening for her Great Banana Taste Test: “…I read that chimpanzees consistently prefer organic bananas to conventional ones. (Incidentally, Chimpanzees also prefer older females to younger ones.)”. Now that’s funny – I don’t care who you are.”

- Oh My Stinkin Heck (ohmystinkinheck.com)

“My favorite new blog is the Cleaner Plate Club. Ali is…trying to figure out how to feed her family healthy meals in the evermore complex web of food-that-is-not what-you-think-it-is. Sometimes it reads like a standard Mommyblog, but as often as not, she hits on a subject that has far deeper roots than your typical recipe.”

- Chef Gregory Roach (gregroach.blogspot.com)

“I’m always looking for really healthy snacks, or super easy meals that will last for several meals. I found recently a website called the Cleaner Plate Club which has great and easy healthy recipes and discussions about healthy meal planning. So far from this website I’ve found out that my peanut butter was from the tainted batch of Peter Pan (no more Peter Pan for me), thanked God a thousand times for sharing in the purchase of an organically raised beef this year, and found several new foods I LOVE.”

- Master of Irony (masterofirony.blogspot.com)

“Have you been reading The Cleaner Plate Club? This blog is written by a mom concerned with the quality of food we eat in the US. She’s not just interested in organics, she goes way beyond what might be labeled organic to talk about hard hitting topics in our food. Topics like hormones in milk, pesticides on produce, and feces on meat. With occasional recipes, this site has changed the way I shop. Her zeal for locally grown products has got me looking more carefully on where my food comes from, and how it’s produced. This is a good resource to keep handy.”

-What Was I Thinking? (outtamymindwithworry.blogspot.com)

“Ali has long been passionate about food and the search for REAL food, healthy food, food with soul…Ali’s a champ (and a wonderful writer, to boot), throwing herself headfirst into this ongoing challenge many of us share: to find food that hasn’t been processed into non-food, to find food that the kids will actually eat, to find food that tastes good and is easy to make, to find food that won’t break the bank, to find food that reflects her beliefs and concerns for the world at large. We’re talking food with heart. And did I mention easy recipes?”

- Breed’Em & Weep (breedemandweep.com)

“At The Cleaner Plate Club, a mom on a mission muses about how she never imagined she’d be spending so much time in the kitchen, but decides that it’s worth it…Good stuff.”

- The Good Life Project (goodlifeproject.wordpress.com)

“The Cleaner Plate Club, whose blog I lurve, hits on why cooking is the key to happiness.”

-Martinimade (www.martinimade.com)

“I’ve been reading The Cleaner Plate Club, too, where I’ve found good advice about buying simple, additive-free food and supporting your local farms.”

- Lake Stitcher (lakestitcher.blogspot.com)

“Hie Thee to the Cleaner Plate Club, Forthwith! If you have not visited this terrific food blog, today’s the day to go… It is a great blog, and a super source for moms and other people who eat food and care about it.”

- Tamara Landre (rgdnapa.blogspot.com)

One Response to What they’re saying

  1. Pingback: The cleaner plate club: Making sustainable food realistic for parents | Grist

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