Jul 132015

The Best Baby Food, 125 Healthy & Delicious Recipes for Babies & Toddlers
By Jordan Wagman & Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, CNP
Published by Robert Rose Inc. 

Guest review by Pascale Buist

I am not a big recipe follower. I mean, I love recipe books, with their beautiful pictures and the promises of exquisite scents and flavours that come with them, but I rarely follow a recipe when cooking. Just because I am a free spirit!

babyfood1My son is now seven and a half months old. He started eating (or shall I say, experimenting with food…) two months ago. It was supposed to help him (us) sleep. It totally failed in that aspect (still sleeping 2h at a time); but he loves eating and is willing to try whatever I fancy to introduce.

I have been making my own purees, thinking it is pretty simple: fruit or veggie, water, simmer or steam,then puree using an immersion blender. But after a while, I started thinking this was bland and boring. Yes, he eats and seems to like it most of the time, but there doesn’t seem to be such an evolution in his eating because I have made large quantities of frozen purees, so the same flavours and textures come back in rotation frequently…

And then I received this book to review and it opened a new world of possibilities! The book is built as a guide for a journey of taste buds stimulation and palate awakening. Elements can be introduced alone, then combined, then seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon… It all makes sense!

As your baby grows up, soups, chunky dips and sauces replace smooth purees. It is suitable for those who spoon­feed their baby; but also works for those who prefer baby­led weaning (don’t puree, serve soft). The recipes are simple, do not require a lot of preparation and dish washing, and the results are fresh, vibrant, full of taste and colours.

Let me start by saying the book is beautiful. The pictures are gorgeous, mouth­watering gorgeous (how’s that for a book on baby food?) The sections are relevant, user­friendly and timesaving. There is a section on general nutrition facts to consider while feeding a baby; one on equipment and storage and then the recipes. Starting Solids (6 to 9 months); Establishing Preferences (9 to 12 months); Food for Toddlers (12 months +) and guilt­free tantalizing Snacks and Desserts final section, with smoothies, ice pops, macaroons and the likes (notice no age recommendation… It is totally okay to eat them yourself!)

With each recipe come nutrients per serving info and a few tips.

Here is a sneak peek: Apple and Fig Brown Rice Cereal; Peach, Chive and Basil Puree; Chicken with Butternut Squash and Leeks; Soft Polenta with Cheddar Cheese and Broccoli; Oven­roasted Duck with Red Cabbage and Frozen Mango Mousse…

babyfoodThere are additional great sections on:

  • making your own whole grain cereals
  • fruits and veggies that contain the most and the least pesticide (so you know which you should buy organic if you are on a budget)
  • healing properties of herbs and spices
  • raw and vegetarian options (with lots of beans, lentils, peas)
  • good sweetening options (to replace white sugar elsewhere)

The only (minor) disappointment: although nutritionists emphasize the need to introduce meat as soon as possible, there is only five recipes with meat (three of them using chicken) in the section Starting Solids… And there is no option to introduce fish before 12 months.

Altogether, a great book that I recommend you buy before the baby is born. Why? Because then you will have plenty of time to read everything, mark pages, plan ahead, dream a little dream of love while looking up the adorable pictures of babies with puree all over there sweet cheeky faces… Because if the baby lottery of life gives you a non­sleeper like mine, you might fall off-schedule and end up buying a large quantity of bottled purees before you manage to find the time and peace of mind to cook, let alone read…

Congratulations on the little(s) one(s); hold on to people who make you feel you are the best parent ever, even when you feel lost at sea… Stay guilt­free as much as you can and enjoy the ride!
Pascale Buist is an International Project Management Consultant from Montreal. She is also the single-mother of one awesome little 7 month old baby boy. She is currently managing her biggest, most challenging and most rewarding project EVER… one sleepless night at a time! 😉

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