A First Taste of Home Cooking

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One of the most exciting times in baby’s first year of life comes at about the five month point, when she starts on table foods. After a few weeks of practice on rice cereals, a whole new world of flavors opens up with each introduction to a new fruit, vegetable or meat.

If you’re a food lover yourself, you probably savored these moments like I did. I distinctly remember watching baby Willie sample his first taste of pureed apple, and hoping that it would be a food that he will enjoy for the rest of his life.

You’ll get some good guidance from your pediatrician on how and when to start baby on solids, and once you get going, you’ll see that things really take off on their own. Most likely, there will be steps forward and steps backwards, as Baby samples new things and displays early favorites. But is there anything that you as a parent can be doing at this early eating stage, to encourage a preference for healthful things? Yes, absolutely. As much as possible, try feeding her fresh, “real” foods, as opposed to anything sold in a jar.

“Homemade baby food” has an earthy and elaborate sound to it, but it’s really no more complicated than taking the food that you eat and pureeing it to the proper texture for Baby to consume. Taste wise, cost wise and even convenience wise, there is no comparison to baby food prepared at home, versus that sold commercially.

When I was writing my book My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything, I interviewed a professional chef who had a new baby at home. We got into the subject of “cooking for baby” after I mentioned to him that I was running low on jarred baby food and needed to pick some up at the grocery store. He paused and then asked me point-blank: “Have you ever tasted that stuff?” I had to admit that I had not.

Curious about why he asked, several weeks later I set up an elaborate taste test for some of my chef/ parent friends, in which we compared the taste of jarred baby foods to the same fresh products that I steamed in the microwave and pureed in a food processor. We sampled things like carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, bananas, peaches and peas in several Stage One brands, as well as combined foods sold as Stage Twos. The results astounded us!

I’ll write next week more about taste and other comparisons in homemade versus jarred baby foods, but meanwhile, I would love to hear thoughts from other parents. Do you make your own “first foods?” Is it really time consuming, and are you sacrificing any convenience? Which first foods does your baby like?

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2 Responses to “A First Taste of Home Cooking”

  1. sugar cookies Says:

    sugar cookie recipe…

    […]A First Taste of Home Cooking « My Two Year Old Eats Octopus[…]…

  2. Michelle Lehman Says:

    This is such a timely post! My sweet baby girl will be six months old on Friday, and we expect the pediatrician to give us the green light to start solids then. I’m very excited to make my own baby food, and already have a food mill and some interesting recipes to try.

    Most all of my friends with babies have made their own, and many are working moms like me that tell me its very easy and they feel better knowing exactly what is in (or NOT in, as the case may be) their baby’s food.

    I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes and pass along any recipes that hit the mark!

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