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    What Happened to REAL Baby Food?

    September 6, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    A friend of mine has a daughter who isn’t too keen on pureed foods. In fact, I have it on good authority that what she really likes are black beans from Baja Fresh. I don’t know what her pediatrician thinks about this, but I, for what it’s worth, think this is great. After all, the goal is not to get the baby to eat baby food. And, really, the goal isn’t even to nourish the baby because, for the most part, babies this age get the majority of their nutrition from mother’s milk or formula.

    The goal is to train up the child to eat what the family eats and be nourished at the family table.

    I made my own baby food with E., and I’m doing it again with Q. This is mainly a financial decision for us, and apparently, with A., we had too much money because I bought almost all of her food.

    Actually, I think I was just really stressed out about who-knows-what.

    Anyhow, this past week I had cause to buy a few jars of baby food. I found this to be an almost impossible task. When did baby food start to be junk food? Oh, sure, if a baby is on Level One, then there are single-item jars of the traditional carrots and green beans. But Level Two has less, and Level Three, where we are, is either loaded with meat or literally labeled a dessert.

    That’s right. Dessert.

    Granted, these desserts were mainly made with fruit, but I object! I strongly object! Around here, fruit is a snack, not a main dish.

    I distinctly remember buying corn in Level Three. There were also vegetable mixtures loaded with butternut squash, carrots, green beans, various types of potatoes, etc.

    So I will stick to making my own. If I ever needed affirmation in this choice, I found it at the grocery store.

    Maybe it’s just my store. It is true they only carry two brands: Gerber and Beechnut. It doesn’t matter because that is where I buy baby food. Or don’t buy it, as the case may be.

    So I remind myself of the goal: we are training Q. to eat and be nourished around the family table. Baby food desserts to not accomplish this. Baby jars of Macaroni and Cheese {!} do not accomplish this. And, poor thing, her mommy is terrified by unrecognizable meat-in-a-jar.

    All of this is to say that I am so glad I used a giftcard we received to buy this:

    Electric Food Mill

    They make a manual one, too

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  • Reply Brandy September 7, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Thank you for the info on blueberries! I was wondering about introducing them, if they were like other berries, etc. I hesitated because strawberries used to cause some major temper tantrums around here.

    We just started with chunks of food, too. Q. has NO teeth, but she is learning to enjoy gumming a banana or nectarine or avocado. However, she has trouble gaining weight, so we are keeping up with the purees because I make sure they are nutrient and calorie dense.

    By the way, I was thinking of doing a post on some more unique baby food recipes. You should consider writing a few lessons of your own, since you taught me much of what I know.

  • Reply Kimbrah September 7, 2007 at 5:57 am

    Elliott is totally done with baby food. I have a mill similar to the one you posted and I love it. But we are done with it for this kid.

    I have just started giving him chunks of soft foods and he makes these happy mmm mmm sounds as he eats them. Sweet potatoes, banana, frozen peas, blueberries, mango, rice pasta, rice, etc.

    If I had to buy a jar of baby food, say for the diaper bag to have in emergencies, Earth’s Best has great baby food. They carry it at Lassen’s and when Karlos was a baby, if you bought a case you got 10% off and they didn’t have to be all the same, you could mix and match. Back then, this was cheaper than buying Gerber at Target or Walmart. Elliott’s favorite was apples and blueberries, but like I said, he’s an elitist now.

    And in case you are wondering, blueberries are in a separate category from regular berries when introducing foods. It’s a perfectly okay first food and loaded with antioxidants and other good things. It’s the strawberries, raspberries, etc. that you have to watch out for. They can cause allergies.

    Oh, and by the way, according to Karlos, toy dragons eat toy cats. Just so you know. 🙂

  • Reply Brandy September 7, 2007 at 5:07 am

    I’ve only used the electric, but I could see how the manual, if it works as well (and I can’t think of why it wouldn’t) would be more travel-friendly. No outlet needed!

  • Reply rebecca September 6, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Glad to get your opinion on that food mill. I saw it and considered it, but didn’t know whether or not to buy it.

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