But really, I'm serious. Baby food was a real change for us! Around the time that I was pregnant I had a few friends and co-workers with little ones. I remember being out and about and seeing one of them feed their baby jarred baby food. I was completely turned off by the thought of having to give my baby food that was olive green, smelled funny, and (basically) had the shelf life of a twinkie. When I got home I immediately told my husband that we would be making our own baby food. Not that I was expecting him to say no, actually I wasn't really giving him a choice, but he glady and quickly agreed. "I feel the same way..." Who knew!? The plus side of this is that we are both closet chefs. Most importantly we love to eat, and we knew that it was not going to be that difficult of a transition. We figured we cook often enough, plus my husband is a collector of gadgets, so there was no way we would not be able to prepare simple foods for the baby.
Just to clear up the hilarity of the gadget collection I'll list them all here. Keep in mind that these were all in our posession well before baby entered our life:
1) blender (essentially obvious)
2) stick blender (not essential, but according to my husband "cool")
3) food processor (easy, takes up less room in dishwasher--this is an essential fact since I absolutely HATE washing dishes, even with a dishwasher)
5) potato masher
6) food chopper
Here's a sampling of chicken and carrots:
So of course we heard all different opinions and stories of other people on baby food making. We stuck with our cooking knowledge and a couple of gifted baby food cookbooks from the baby registry. We started Surinne with solids at 4 months once we got the OK from our doctor. The quintessential first food here is poi. We have a connection to getting farm fresh poi whenever we need it so this worked out well. Luckily Surinne had no problems eating it and was very happy. We soon followed with Okinawan sweet potato, carrot, pear, peas, and baby cereal of course. Surinne's food options/combinations are endless now and luckily she is more than willing to eat all of them.
I know you are asking how this has prompted change, and to be honest it took me a while to realize that this is what was happening. A friend of mine was asking what Surinne was eating one day and the flavor of the moment was chicken, rice, and luau leaf. I was babbling away and heard myself mutter "Surinne eats the healthiest of the three of us!" It was one of those moments where everything moves in slo-mo, the volume is crystal clear, and you are watching yourself. I realized that this statement, although true, made me sad! Why is it that we were so unhealthy, and I wondered why we didn't realize it until baby came along? With two closet chefs in the house you would think that there would be nutritious meals everyday! Well we had been living with quite the opposite. I think that, despite being new parents, we had fallen into a food rut. Not only was our most complicated meal spaghetti with meat sauce, but our meals had become a collection of about 4 dishes. The aforementioned spaghetti, frozen lasagna, pan fried steak, and anything with chicken. Maybe to some it doesn't sound too bad, but in the midst of growing, learning, and maturing, we lost the completeness of our meals. We were just getting by, and barely at that! Where had the good sutff, the vegetables, the freshness gone? So in the process of my sad realization that my baby had been eating healthier than we were (and that I wanted to continue her on this path, and the fact that *gasp* we were getting older seeing as how we were officially into our 30's) I decided that we needed to make drastic changes to our food styles. The focus will be on healthier eating (duh), smaller portions (we're brainwashed!), home-cooked or packed meals (even on the go!), and of course learning more along the way.
I could tell you all about our bad habits, financial woes, and historically horrible diets, but that's not the point. The point is that once you realize that you want to change, it is all you can think about. Also, change is hard! It takes many forms, many angles, lots of work, and lots of time. The good news is that, as first time parents, we are somehow managing to find the time! I am proud to say that we have successfully added a number of healthier dishes lately. Surprisingly we have added freshness as well--baked asparagus, steamed broccoli, steamed beets, green beans, etc. We buy local as often as we can (especially from Kula Country Farms!). Thanks as well to our old, but only newly used, slow cooker, Pampered Chef rubs and cookware, Costco and recipes.com for new ideas and inspiration. I think we are slowly regaining our food confidence and skills. There is a long way to go. New options to explore including more locally sourced products, more oganization for meal planning as well as storing, and learning as much as we can.