Wednesday, December 9, 2009

new culinary explorations

How gourmet can baby food get? Pretty yummy, I dare say.

I couldn't wait to start Abby on solid foods, so much so that when she hit four months, we hit the highchair right away. It didn't take long to master cereals, which made me happy to get some more interesting viands introduced to her palate. I'm someone who, while always enjoying the standard fare of middle class American fruits and veggies during my younger years, has rediscovered a love of veggies in my 20s, now that I have found new and exciting ways to make them besides throwing some frozen broccoli bits & pieces in the microwave. The oven and veggies are made for each other. Roasted anything is pretty much a-okay with me! Couple that with a little (or a lottle) bit of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano and I'm a happy happy veggie camper.

Something else that I blame on Manchester influences, I'm pretty sure that I could be a vegetarian after all if I wanted to be one. Right now, I'm really more of an often-but-not-always-just-because-I-still-enjoy-meat vegetarian. In other words, I'm a healthier eater now than I ever was growing up just because I'm willing to eat more veggies and in different forms now than I have before. Dare I say that I even ask for tomatoes on my sandwiches at Subway now??

I deeply wish that my Abby Shedabby will have a healthier lifestyle than me, especially what she eats. I can't wait to start a love of good food with Abby now. My plot involves two key components.

1. Do not use food as a bribe. As I watch my parents and siblings interact with my two nieces and nephew, who are 5, 4 and almost 2, respectively, I realize that this type of food-child relationship is ingrained in our society. "Eat three more bites of potatoes and then you can go play...Eat two more bites of your sandwich and then you can have a cookie...Since you asked so nicely, you can have a doughnut..." I can't help but think that this is why I eat the way that I do. I have been taught to reward myself. It also worries me that our families will continue this "tradition" with my daughter because that is what they do. I'm not sure if this is "wrong," but it is something that I'm now very uncomfortable with to teach my own child. Abby is only 6 months old, and already I have heard this sentiment multiple times: "This [the freezer] is where your mommy and daddy keeps ice'll get to have ice cream some day soon" or "Does Abby want a cookie? I bet that Abby wants a cookie!" No no no! Not my child!!!

2. Give Abby the very best food that I possibly can from the first spoonful of squashed squash. My theory is that I'm not going to have a bajillion kids, so I can afford to invest more quality in my small quantity. That means that I am willing to pay more for organic baby food, without complaint. It also means that I am intent on making my own baby food as is feasible. Herein lies my new culinary explorations.

So far, I've dabbled in pears and fiddled with sweet potatoes. I find that my blender is not the best aid in my endeavors. I did score a sweet, only used twice, 12-c Kitchenaid food processor this summer at a garage sale just with the intent of blitzing and blending to my baby's content. I haven't exactly mastered the art of using the big black machine yet, though, which means that I'm still reliant on my blender. Perhaps by the end of the month I will have figured out how to conquer the giant that lurks on the floor of my pantry. I have managed to stockpile the aforementioned pears and sweet potatoes in my freezer, though. And just in case you were wondering...Abby loves them. She loves all food that she's tried so far, except avacadoes. We're still working on that one.

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