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Jerry Seinfeld Defends Wife Against Accusations of Plagiarism

Jerry Seinfeld says his wife isn't guilty of "vegetable plagiarism." Jessica Seinfield's "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food," published this month by HarperCollins, explains how to hide nutritious vegetables in traditional recipes so children will eat them.

The couple have three children.

"So there's another woman who had another cookbook — and it was a similar kind of thing, with the food and the vegetables in the food — and my wife never saw the book, read the book, used the book," the 53-year-old comedian said Monday on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman."

"But the books came out at the same time. So this woman says, `I sense this could be my wacko moment.' So she comes out ... and she accuses my wife. She says, `You stole my mushed-up carrots. You can't put mushed-up carrots in a casserole. I put mushed-up carrots in a casserole. It's vegetable plagiarism,'" Seinfeld joked.

"I love the term `plagiarism' for this little event," he said. "Because it used to be you had to really take a theme from a major novel, some sort of literary narrative. Now, you're in your kitchen making brownies, you sneak a little spinach in there, your name's dragged through the mud."

"Are you worried now that discussing it on the television program here will actually incite or exacerbate the circumstance?" asked host David Letterman.

"Well, then it gets me another shot on your show," Seinfeld responded.

"The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals" by Missy Chase Lapine was published in April by the Running Press, which acquired the book after it was turned down by HarperCollins. In a statement released Tuesday by her publisher, Lapine said: "It was painful to be called names on national TV when I am just a mom who wrote a cookbook to help parents get their kids to eat well."

Jessica Seinfeld has said she's never seen or read "The Sneaky Chef." Lapine has said she isn't accusing anyone of anything, but added that it does "hurt" to see someone given credit for her method.

Both books are best sellers. "Deceptively Delicious" has more than 1 million copies in print, thanks largely to Jessica Seinfeld's Oct. 8 appearance on Oprah Winfrey's television program. Sales for "Sneaky Chef" have jumped since the allegations emerged against Seinfeld, with Running Press ordering a new printing of 60,000 copies, for a total of 150,000.