I don't know what's going on where you live, but where I am, there's a baby explosion underway! I shouldn't say "where I live"...because, more accurately, I have friends having babies from down the street to West Virginia and beyond. But with all of these babies being born, I thought it was high time to turn my attention, and yours, to some babyfood-making conversation.
When Elle, my five year old, was born, I returned to work full time after twelve weeks. I had my hands full, navigating the brave new world of being a working mom, and I was too exhausted even to contemplate making food for her. When it came time to introduce solids, I was happy to leave the cooking to Gerber. As a result, I can't help but wonder if some of the resistance that she had to eating (see "Attack of the Picky Two Year Old" for more detail) was due to the fact that her food just didn't really taste all that good. Ah, a mother's guilt. It's truly one of the most creative forces in the universe. This time around, I find myself with far more time and a little less money than before. I am also more concerned these days with the food that my family is eating, and little by little, I'm trying to increase our use of organic and local foods whenever I can. To that end, Jeremiah and I decided to give making our own babyfood a try. That was two months ago and...so far, so good!
Making your own babyfood is an idea that's pretty hot right now. Williams-Sonoma features the Beaba Babycook, and a whole slew of absolutely adorable accessories to go with it. It's a great little product from the reviews that I've read. My friend Amanda, whose Peanut is a few months younger than Jake, actually lent me hers for a test run...but I was too intimidated by it to use it! But, by all means, for ease of use, it's a terrific product, and if it will get you into the kitchen and cooking for your baby, then it's certainly a worthy investment.
For us, however, a Babycook wasn't in the budget, but that didn't mean I couldn't still make my own food. I turned to my friend, Kelly, who is, by trade, a registered dietician, and who had made most of her son's food, for advice and tips. So, armed with an old-fashioned steamer basket and ice cube trays, I went to work.
Let's be clear right off the bat: I may know my way around the kitchen, but I'm no expert when it comes to what is best to feed baby. It may not sound like a big deal, but there are lots of hazards to navigate when feeding a tiny person whose digestive system is immature. I considered buying a book of baby food recipes, but I thought I would try to find some less expensive resources on my own first, and my very first search led me to a terrific website. I've relied heavily on it for nutritional information, methods, dos and don'ts, and advice about when to start Jake on particular foods. The website, http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/index.html, is the work of Christine Albury, mother of five and lover of food. She began making her own baby food with her first child in 1994. Her website is so wonderfully thorough that the most novice cook can follow her advice and recipes, and produce healthy and nutritious dishes for baby. In fact, some of her recipes have even inspired me in other ways, but more on that later.
Over the next few days, I'll share what I've done and what I've learned so far. We're only two months into this experience, but I fancy I've already come up with some things that might be valuable to some of my mommy (and daddy!) friends out there.