Meditations

The making of a Foodie: Food for the offspring of food lovers


Lila enjoying organic pea mush!

Lila enjoying organic pea mush!

I love to cook. My wife doesn’t. She bakes, but that doesn’t count on weeknights when I come home after work and there’s a meal to prepare (though I should get her into making meat pies). Generally, I find it de-stressing and often there’s either a bunch of ingredients waiting, or I get to rummage through the pantry and invent. This doesn’t work well though when the mouth you’re feeding is only six months old. And does get someone who is rather into his food thinking.

First off, watching a new little person tasting foods for the first time is fascinating and sends waves of renewed excitement about food through me too. Funny though, what Lila likes one day, she might not the next. We’re introducing one food every three or four days (this is to isolate any potential allergic reactions). We’re up to sweet potatoes, apples and peas. Pears, avocado, green beans and banana are next in line.

Secondly, what self-respecting food lover would go to the trouble to make his own meals and then buy processed food for his kid? Actually, there are some good jarred baby foods, but really, it’s not hard to make the stuff. If you do, you are guaranteed to know what’s going into it and it’s much more economical. The next best thing about it is that I can create my own custom ‘blends’. So far, sweet potato apple is all I can make that’s decent,  but well get there. No spices yet either, but I’m thinking there’s probably a grey area on herbs and things like lemongrass! I think lemongrass infused organic pea purée would not only be a gourmet meal for my daughter, but might just work for some creative plating options for the adults. They’ll never know it’s my kid’s meals accompanying their duck breast.

Making baby food has so far been easy. Steaming or baking, adding some liquid (generally breast milk or water) and blending. We’ve taken to putting the mixture into ice cube trays and freezing it so we now have bags of different food cubes. Seems almost Jetson’s-like hey? So now, preparing meals for Lila is as simple as combining a cube of this and a cube of that, etc. Sometimes I wish it was that easy for my dinners.

I’m not sure how far I’m going to take this. I have high hopes for my child’s culinary acuity. All this is leading to her loving truffles and me getting an eager sous chef in the kitchen. How young is too young for a first paring knife?

Until then, I’m doing some reading and googling for baby food recipes. Learning some interesting tidbits too: such as the skins of carrots contain higher concentrations of nitrates than the rest of the vegetable so it’s best to peel them before steaming and not use the leftover water to mix with. This is in contrast to peas which are gently steamed whole and then the pea water used to thin the purée. Speaking of peas: one cup contains more protein than a tablespoon of peanut butter and has calcium, vitamin A and C and iron. I’m definitely going to have to start eating more of them.

So, here’s to hoping I’m doing the right thing, and giving Lila a head start on her road to becoming a Foodie herself.

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