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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 blogreceived 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 Swiss-Miss.com. Then it snowballed, and every food site from Slashfood.com to ohdeedoh.com 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 seriesThings 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
Callista April 20, 2010, 6:50 AM

The people commenting on this post aren’t much better. I just don’t understand how coloured pancakes can be gross. And if you think they are, keep it to yourself.

Pancakes are not THAT unhealthy. The pats of butter is probably for the photograph, as all stacks of pancakes show those. Personally pancakes would be very dry without butter/margarine.

These look really cool and I’d love to make them.

Brenda B. Hill April 20, 2010, 6:55 AM

I don’t see anything wrong with rainbow pancakes. They look attractive to kids and can be a treat when you need one. Or for special occasion like a Birthday breakfast.
Don’t pay attention to the bad comments as they are usually from people who have nothing in their life and complain about everything. They are probably jealous and want to hurt you if possible so don’t let them.

You know your kids best so don’t let others tell you what to do. I love to bake also.

Jean Layton April 20, 2010, 7:02 AM

These are amazing! I feel that anyone who can’t see the fun in these should be sentenced to a Marx brother film fest.
Seriously? How bad are these, theyr’re pancakes! Made at home by a loving and happy mom for her well nourished children.
They are not how you make them most of the time, they are a TREAT.
Go for it, occasionally and enjoy!

Rachel April 20, 2010, 7:07 AM

@teen - Don’t be harshin on my friend butter! ;)

Jeff April 20, 2010, 7:41 AM

I do like the pancake idea, my kids will love them for sure. What I really am interested in is the Buffalo. I do know that they are an awesome source of lean protein. But, do they have hunting seasons for them where you are. I am going in with a friend to buy a beef cow that another friend is raising organically like all her cows. My half will feed my family for a while, I could not imagine how much meat a Buffalo would supply. If you can see my email please forward me info on how I can harvest one of these, and the costs involved. Thank you

Megan April 20, 2010, 8:10 AM

Wow! I would have never thought of rainbow pancakes. My son is only 10 weeks old so he cannot enjoy these yet but who is to say that I can’t practice on the rest of my family? I get some really bad comments a lot too on my blog. Don’t be too discouraged… Majority of the time they don’t have kids and have no idea what it is like to raise any!

Tammy April 20, 2010, 8:36 AM

I can see why some people thought they were gross. The thought of my children ingesting that much artificial dye is repulsive. However, tons of people feed their kids, and themselves, crap every day, so I don’t see why people got so upset.

Janmary, N Ireland April 20, 2010, 8:38 AM

I am a HUGE fan of Amanda, and admire her many skills.

She can fly over to Ireland anytime and make my kids rainbow pancakes :)

Tanya Peila April 20, 2010, 8:48 AM

I LOVE this IDEA! And yes I feed my kids cereal and pancakes for breakfast! There it’s out!

Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy April 20, 2010, 8:55 AM

I think that they look awesome. What a creative twist. My kids would love them and you have inspired me to make them this weekend!

Incidentally, my mother used to make us red pancakes when we were kids and we absolutely loved them.

CarolynW April 20, 2010, 9:21 AM

I have experienced the same thing. There were flame wars and hate email fired at me after my book was published, and I teach others how to have FUN!! The Internet gives people the feeling of power and anonymity. They can fire off an opinion (throw a stick or stone) from the safety of their living room hidden behind a computer screen. I recommend you read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Agreement #2 Don’t Take Anything Personally. Stick with those that support you and ignore the rest. It’s not always easy to do, but it will save you sanity.

Keep having fun with your kids. I have to admit, my first thought when I saw the pancakes was “WOW, all that food coloring can’t be good!” but that’s my opinion. You know what, even though that was my first thought, I will probably make those pancakes for my daughter. You know why? Because its fun and life’s too short not to have fun.

You are a good mom. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Follow your instincts, have fun with your children and keep on blogging. I am looking forward to your next post :)

Shannon D April 20, 2010, 10:07 AM

How cute!!! My kids would love them for a treat, I am going to make them this weekend. I just hope they look as good as yours.

Condo Blues April 20, 2010, 10:14 AM

I just have to ask if it’s Troll Season on blogs right now or what? Last night there was troll drama on Twitter and another friend on Facebook was having troll comments on her blog too. Why is that people hide behind the anonymous nature of the Internet to say mean things that they don’t have to guts to say to the same person’s face? If you don’t like crazy colored pancakes, fine don’t eat them or make them but why complain about someone who does? It’s food coloring in a pancake for Pete’s sake! If you’re concerned about artificial colors there are natural food coloring that you can buy. Or here’s a tip - just make regular pancakes!

Former Yankee Girl April 20, 2010, 10:41 AM

I’d first like to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with the colorful pancakes prepared with love for her children. They weren’t laced with sugar so, so what! I wouldn’t eat them but I’m sure my children would love them. I actually started to feel like a bad mom for not going the extra mile baking and all that good stuff but I do my best. I thought money was the root of all evil, but the internet is becoming a close second.

Joanne April 20, 2010, 11:17 AM

Wow, I think your pancakes look awesome. And what a fun way to get a kid to eat his breakfast. I’ve been a Mother for 33 years and I say never stop being creative in th kitchen. It makes everybody happy. There’s verse to an old rock and roll song from the 70’s. “Don’t let the long faced ugly mother wearin a frown get ya down”!
Keep up the good work.

Tom in Houston April 20, 2010, 11:40 AM

It’s sad that there are people out there that have nothing else to do except put others down. Those people need a ‘life’. If someone has criticism, positive or negative, there are ways to convey it. To be able to interest children in eating anything different can be a challenge. You have found a creative way to support that. If children are active physically then moderate amounts of carbohydrates are used as energy. It’s better they have real food then all the artificial ‘foods’ from highly processed items.

Keep going, you must be doing something right if people criticize what you do.

Sylvia April 20, 2010, 11:44 AM

It never ceases to amaze me the people who take life so serious that any amount of fun is seen as a sin.My son is a very picky eater yet I get all kinds of healthy food in him by being creative and/or adding something that might be a no-no.It all comes down to balance.I’d rather him have whole wheat rainbow pancakes than processed pop tarts.But that’s just me.Anyone interested in a little fun you can visit my website at locofortrains.tripod.com I always enjoy meeting new friends regardless of their dietary values. lol!!!

Jennie April 20, 2010, 12:32 PM

These are so awesome, I have been inspired to make these for my toddlers thank you.
I love creative people.

sheri April 20, 2010, 1:24 PM

I think they are wonderful!! I wish I had thought of it when my kids were little!!

LPrevolt April 20, 2010, 5:27 PM

The only reason why anyone would hate rainbow pancakes (other than unlikely possible color dye poisoning) is because some hateful homophobic people might think the food is a PRO-gay political statement. It’s just like wearing the wrong clothing colors in a major city that has gang problems. This mother is just another innocent victim of the Cyber Drive-by gang shootings War waged by people who love to hate and discriminate against gays or anyone thought to be understanding towards them. No wonder the US loves wars and so much Violence. I’m a hippy at heart, and I LOVE the Rainbow Pancakes, thus I’ll leave you with “Make love, not wars” or hate fro that matter too.


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