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The Dark Side of Mommy Blogging

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Mom, baker, blogger ... rabble-rouser? Apparently so.

Rainbow Pancake

When Minnesota's Amanda Rettke blogged about the adventurous task of baking rainbow pancakes for her children, the colorful recipe took off and was soon posted around the Web on various cooking sites.

And it's no wonder -- these things are fantastic! But what happened next was a big surprise: Amanda's blog received more than 500,000 hits -- and a ton of negative comments, ranging from "Gross!" to "You shouldn't be allowed to procreate if you're going to feed your kids junk!"

WTF?! Last we checked, this mom Just. Made. Pancakes. Turns out, there is a definite dark side to mommy blogging ... and poor Amanda walked right into the middle of it.

We sat down with Amanda to talk about her life as a mommy blogger ... and whether or not she'll make recipes like the infamous rainbow pancakes ever again!

momlogic: Tell us more about how your pancake blog-entry became so popular.
Amanda Rettke: I made the pancakes in October of 2009, and in February of this year they were featured on Then it snowballed, and every food site from to had the picture up. I even saw them on The Insider! 

ml: Can you share some of the good, the bad and the ugly of the comments? 
AR: Meanest comments? "Food for people with no self-respect." "This is just GROSS!" "This woman should not be allowed to procreate." Nicest comments? Lots of folks mentioned that they were inspired to make these for their own children. Anytime someone tells me they are inspired, I get all sappy and smiley. 

ml: What inspired you to make these pancakes?
AR: I was inspired by my kids! I had just made a rainbow cake for some friends, and the kids were obsessed with it! When they woke up that morning, they kept asking for rainbow cake -- to which I said no. But then I said, "How about pancakes?" The kids asked, "Can they be blue and green and red, Mom?!" [And I said,] "Well ... sure! We can make rainbows!"

ml: What is your response to the rainbow-pancake haters?
AR: At first, I was mortified. I had no idea that pancakes would inspire such mean in people! When folks started talking about what a horrible mom I was, I really started to feel lousy. But then I blogged about it in my series Things Successful Bloggers Do, and the feedback was thoughtful and encouraging and supportive! I started to put things back in perspective and understand that who I was as a parent was not represented in a picture of silly pancakes.  

ml: Will the negative feedback discourage you from writing about your baking? 
AR: No. I write and bake for a very specific audience, and this is people who love to consume massive amounts of sugar and/or give away massive amounts of sugar. I'm kidding. If anything, the feedback about these pancakes motivated me to be more educated! I want to make sure my kids have the best possible diet and are exposed to the proper ways to maintain a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.

ml: What's funny is, you really limit your kids' sugar to begin with!
AR: Yes, I do! I am big on making sure their "core fuel" is healthy. My husband shot a buffalo, and that has been our main source of meat for about two years. As I am sure you know, buffalo is very lean and healthy, and (since my husband shot it) free from the chemicals, additives and hormones that are in the meat bought at the grocery store.

We also make sure the snacks and extras are as organic as possible. Like ketchup -- my kids love ketchup! But if you don't get it natural or organic, the main ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar! Not tomatoes!

For snacks, we do all-natural or organic peanut butter and snack crackers. We also have plum trees in our backyard, so we make our own jelly! My husband is an amazing gardener, so we have a large organic garden that allows us to can veggies and fruits for consumption all year long. I also make them smoothies about five times a week.

Around holidays and birthdays (and anytime they go to Grandma's house), I supplement their diet with probiotics and vitamins. And no, 90 percent of the time they don't eat what I bake. When they are good helpers, though, an occasional mixer spoon does get licked clean. 

ml: What's the inspiration for your daily blog, and how does it fit into your daily life as a stay-at-home mom?
AR: My blogs are about baking and being a mommy, so 99 percent of my inspiration comes from loving to eat sweet things and from the experiences as a mom and wife. I live in a small town outside Minneapolis-St. Paul with my husband and three kids and am a stay-at-home mom. I am an avid amateur photographer and baker and love that my kids enjoy hanging out in the kitchen with me!

ml: You're a pretty successful baker, from the looks of it. How many cookies and cakes do you think you baked last year?
AR: Ha! Thank you. I suppose I have made upwards of two thousand cookies this year. I mostly bake for friends and family, but I have also made cookies for church functions, weddings and some Internet orders.

ml: What advice can you give moms who may be receiving negative comments about their blogs, yet really enjoy and believe in what they are writing?
AR: Check the source. If the comment is from an anonymous source just being mean, don't give it too much credibility. If you are writing about your family and your kids, there is no better reliable source than you!

We want to know: What do you think of these pancakes?

next: What?? Some Men DON'T Want Sex?!
140 comments so far | Post a comment now
Joy Ellis April 15, 2010, 6:12 AM

I loved the pancaked and made them for my kids. They loved them also! Pancakes at my house are also a treat! This made it that much more special! I think Amanda does a wonderful job on her blog and I am a proud reader and supporter of her!

bridget {bake at 350} April 15, 2010, 6:21 AM

I LOVE those pancakes!!! Amanda is such an inspiration! Her blogs are beautiful and creative and funny…I AM inspired with every new post. She makes the blog world a brighter place. (No, I’m not her mother, just a fan!)

Now…off to make those pancakes!

Amber April 15, 2010, 6:22 AM

These are awesomeness wrapped up in a pretty bow.How could anyone not like these pancakes? It’s not like she feeds them to her kids evryday!

mmm, pancakes April 15, 2010, 6:24 AM

There has to be something missing from this article. That, or I just don’t get it. I mean, all those people can’t possibly be upset about “junk” food for breakfast. As I was reading the article, I assumed they were going to say that people had a problem with it b/c rainbows = gay/lesbian. But, really? They’re THAT upset about pancakes and nothing else?? I really…I just…it doesn’t make any sense! What do they care what someone else’s kid gets for breakfast? And pancakes aren’t junk anyway! AND even if it were junk, like, say, triple thick milk shakes and poptarts dipped in melted snickers bars, SO???! Seriously, WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL???

teen April 15, 2010, 6:41 AM

These people are called trolls… Even if you haven’t heard of them, you’ve probably seen one before. They like to come on sites like this and leave comments that will shock/offend the site’s intended readership. For example, writes an article about a mom with a career and a family; the article includes a few pictures. A troll (or many trolls) comes here and leaves comments insulting her appearance or that she’s neglecting her children. Trolls just want to get people riled up and when you respond to them, it’s called feeding the troll. Another popular tactic is to call a photo shopped (or photoshopped) and claim that the pancakes were just photoshopped to look colorful.

In conclusion, don’t feed the trolls and they’ll go away.

Personally, the dyed pancakes creep me out, as well as the ocean of syrup and completely unnecessary pats of butter…

yum April 15, 2010, 7:50 AM

These are awesome pancakes! I made them for my kids and they LOVED them!! I love Amanda!

Black Iris April 15, 2010, 7:58 AM

The pancakes look like fun. The people who complained need to get a life.

Renae  April 15, 2010, 8:27 AM

While I hate the colored food fads such as this, to each his own. If she wants to make rainbow pancakes for her kids, she can. She shouldn’t march to the beat of anyone else’s drum. You go Amanda! Forget those jerks!

Lindsay April 15, 2010, 9:03 AM

These pancakes were a HUGE hit when I made them for my kids on Valentines day - and really, they probably have fewer drops of food coloring in them as you would put to dye the frosting on your kids’ birthday cakes so I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s fun and whenever you can do to incorporate fun into feeding your kids - more power to you!

AmoebaMike April 15, 2010, 9:28 AM

Why would pancakes be such a spring board? Really? Who cares if her kids eat healthy organic foods or sugary splats of disaster. It’s just a recipe!

Cheryl D. April 15, 2010, 11:18 AM

Those pancakes are great! But as a new blogger, who’s happy if I have 30 people visit my site in a day, I can’t feel too sorry for some mean comments out of 500,000 visits! OMG! That kind of exposure is a blogger’s dream! So no sympathy from me! Sorry! LOL!

momof4 April 15, 2010, 1:13 PM

I think they look pretty neat. I too would be hurt by mean comments, I just can’t help it. But I think the best critics are your kids, if they’re happy, then I’m happy :-)

annie April 15, 2010, 1:20 PM

LOVE,LOVE,LOVE the pretty pancakes and I know my kids will too!

andrea April 15, 2010, 1:24 PM

LOVE,LOVE,LOVE the pretty pancakes and I know my kids will too!

Lisa April 15, 2010, 3:55 PM

Cool! Suggestions… make ‘em “silver dollar” size to reduce the calorie and carb intake and syrup on the side to reduce sugar intake.

Makeda Martin April 15, 2010, 3:57 PM

I could see if the criticism was straight forward.
As a raw food enthusiast I am not one for eating wheat products,especially laden with artificial food colouring.
So from a health perspective this would not be the type of food I would feed myself or my children.
This however does not give anyone the right to attack the creator.
She can do her own thing.
I aim to educate and show healthy and healthier alternatives.
I am a firm believer in keeping my children’ s food as real as possible.
Sushi is our snack food.
So although I am not into this kind of recipe I do not think it fair to attack the woman for posting the recipe.

Jannice April 15, 2010, 4:01 PM

I think they look gross.. but I have a 5 yr old and she would love them.. So it’s all in the eye of the beholder… Don’t be so sensitive to ppls negative remarks…everyone is allowed their own opinion… last time I checked the Constitution.. for as long as that is still around.. Anyways.. take it with a grain of salt.. chuckle and move on! God Bless America!

Chrys April 15, 2010, 6:05 PM

I think those pancakes are the coolest looking things. How dang fun! Forget the haters, people are stupid. I can’t wait to make them for my family. Forget the kids, my husband will dig those as much as anyone else and my kids range from 1-14.

Read more:

Maggie April 15, 2010, 7:03 PM

I saw these and decided one morning after I hadn’t slept all night to make them for my family and my neighbors. I’m not a mom though. I made them and I mixed the colors so some of the pancakes were green, red, and blue. It was awesome and everyone loved it. The year and a half old baby who ate it was confused at first, but loved it when he realized they were pancakes. I haven’t had time to do it again, but I definitely plan to.
There is nothing wrong with making these pancakes.

Monica April 15, 2010, 7:49 PM

Amanda some people are weird. So forget about them. They are just mad that they are too grouchy to make their children some color pancakes with so much love in them. I realize people have health concerns about food coloring and all that jazz but a nice fun colorful meal once and a while will not hurt anyone and the excitement brings the family together. I gotta make these for my son. By the way I have seen the rainbow cake and thought that was cool. Someone should try waffles or crepes.

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