Several years ago, before Jane was even a twinkle in my eye, I decided I wanted to make my own baby food. I think my desire to do so stemmed from my odd love of the 1980s movie Baby Boom with Diane Keaton. In it, there is a scene where she is making homemade apple sauce with apples grown on her farm. For some reason, that always seemed like such a completely wholesome and fun thing to do.
I remember expressing this interest to my mom friends. More often that not their responses were that there was no way I would find time to do it once I was balancing a baby and a career. Of course, given my personality, this only made me want to do it more.
Why I wanted to make my own baby food
Fast forward to Jane’s arrival, and I had all of these new found reasons for wanting to make her food. First of all, I LOVE to cook. I felt that by making Jane’s food, I was connected to her nourishment in a way that seemed meaningful to me. Also, given our proximity to Whole Foods, it was convenient (and Earth friendly) to walk there to acquire the organic produce we desired. I loved picking out a carrot and showing it to Jane and telling her all about the color of it and describing its triangular shape and relating it to the objects she sees in her books.
Most importanly, I desired to lay the foundation for Jane to enjoy healthy and fresh food. A foundation where she would grow up appreciating produce and proteins acquired from a farmers market because she would respect the work and love and time a farmer spent growing and raising the things that nourish her body.
I wanted to create an environment where she enjoyed the same meals we were eating. So, on a night where we would have grilled chicken, roasted zucchini and an avocado, Jane would dine on pureed zucchini and smashed avocado. It was as simple as steaming a small amount of what we were preparing and blending it in the Baby Bullet.
Jane’s Favorite Recipe
1 ripe banana
1 small sweet potato
1 pinch cinnamon
1 quarter cup steaming liquid
Peel, cube, and steam the sweet potato. Add the cubes of sweet potato and the banana to your Baby Bullet/blender/food processor and puree. Add steaming liquid as necessary. When the mixture is a nice smooth consistency, sprinkle in the cinnamon and blend once more.
This will make enough for 6-8 servings. It freezes and defrosts perfectly too.
Our journey with “adult” food
As she has grown out of the pureed food stage, we have continued to follow this process. We eat most (it has been a challenge to be home for dinner every night during tax season) of our meals as a family around our formal dining table. Before being served anything else, she receives a small plate with a sampling of what we are having. In all honesty, she nibbles here and there, but more often than not, she turns her plate over or throws what she doesn’t want on the floor.
Those are the moments when I question why I’m trying to treat her like an adult at just 16 months old. They are the moments that I want to throw in the towel and hand her a few fish sticks and call it a night. On more than one occasion, she has turned down her pint sized portion of flank steak and asparagus and become so incensed that we would expect her to eat such rubbish that she throws a tantrum in her chair that would impress any of those nannies on reality TV. By the end of her show of frustration, we are both tired and have little appetitie left. Enter yogurt. That’ll certainly turn her frown upside down.
While it hasn’t been as easy introducing Jane to dinner time as I thought it would be, I really do believe that as she grows older, she will come to know it as her norm. As she grows up, she will not find it unusual to be seated at a table with grown ups eating food prepared for her that is indigineous to the place in which she lives. My hope is that one day she will see that a meal prepared with love is comparable to nothing else in the world.
In the meantime, we have lots of yogurt handy…