Friday, July 27, 2007

Baby Food

Before Samantha was born, I had never given much thought to the types of solid foods that I would feed her. I kinda figured that I’d buy “baby food”. But when Laura, my sister, said that she made all of Maddie’s baby food, my competitive spirit kicked in. If she could do it, then so can I.

I started making baby food before Samantha was ready for solids. I had picked more asparagus out of my garden than I could possibly eat, so I steamed, pureed and froze the extras. I thought she might find the flavor pretty strong, but she gobbled it down.

Gerber is part of a conspiracy to convince parents that it’s impossible to make food for your own child. Gerber's whole existence depends on it. Strained carrots, anyone? Do you even have a strainer fine enough to match the consistency of commercial stage 1 baby food? I don’t. If the child is too young for solids, then of course their food needs to be strained. But wait until around six months of age when the baby shows signs of readiness and you can skip right on to pureeing and mashing.

Here’s a list of the tools that I’ve used to make, store and serve Samantha’s food:
- a small pot
- a pot with steamer insert
- a potato masher
- a hand blender with chopper attachment
- a fork
- ice cube trays
- Ziploc freezer bags
- Tupperware Midgets (1/4 cup size)
- Tupperware Snack Cups (1/2 cup size)
- Plastic baby spoons
- Pyrex 4 oz custard cups
- Pyrex 10 oz custard cups

I received the spoons as a shower gift and I purchased the ice cube trays. All of the remaining items were already in my kitchen. There’s nothing exotic or hard to come by on the list. Some people use a baby food mill, but I think the hand blender pureed nicely. I have a regular food mill because I like to can stuff like tomato sauce and applesauce, but it has not come out of the box all year.

Being a CSA member, each week I have a seemingly endless supply of potential baby food options. It would be stupid to pay Gerber for squash when I have fresh zucchinis. With just a small amount of time invested each week spent cooking, I can quickly grab a frozen cube or two, warm and serve. No wasted, half-eaten jars of baby food around here. Plus, she gets a varied diet – Gerber could never afford a product line so diverse.

For the sake of full disclosure, I have bought baby rice cereal. On its own, it is too bland for Samantha’s breastfed palate. However, it’s that same blandness that makes it a good mix-in for strongly flavored foods such as escarole or blueberries.

1 comment:

  1. I never brought Maddie cereal. I was too cheap. I stuck with the hand blender for everything. The only food I ever made her that I wouldn't eat was the poached chicken. It had no flavor. I had to add water to mash it. Gross.

    The ice cube tray is the perfect serving size for that age.

    I'm really proud of you. You had made time sacrifices to provide a healthy beginning for Samantha.