Monthly Archives: January 2012

Do As I Say, Not As I Do: The Philosophy of Feeding

Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. ~The Dalai Lama

This guy is hilarious. Also delicious.

When it comes to making food for my baby, I follow a few basic rules.

1. Added sugar is bad. Babies don’t need it; there are plenty of other ways to sweeten their foods, like by adding mashed banana to just about anything. Kids have plenty of time to get addicted to sugar when they’re older.

2. Added salt is bad. Again, babies don’t need it, and again, kids have plenty of time, blah blah blah.

3. Organic produce is good. I can’t afford to buy all our food at Whole Foods (though I wish I could–walking through that store is one giant exercise in resisting temptation (“Stick to the list! Forgodsakes, STICK TO THE LIST!”)), but when I can I will go for the organic produce. Not all produce needs to be organic, though, since some fruits and vegetables have little exposure to pesticides even when grown conventionally. A good resource I found is the Android app called “Organic Diet Buddy,” which lists most of the fruits and vegetables that you’re likely to be buying and gives you information about their pesticide exposure, whether it’s safe to buy something grown conventionally or if it really needs to be organic, as well as basic food prep instructions. The app will also tell you the addresses of all your local farmer’s markets, though it doesn’t tell you what days/hours they’re open, which would be nice.

Ah! You siren, you minx!

4. Flavor is good. Babies need to be exposed to the flavors that they’ll be encountering as they grow, so I add spices and herbs to my son’s food as appropriate. Nothing really strong, and nothing hot, but there’s no reason he can’t have a touch of curry in his mashed potatoes. What’s life without curry, anyway? Nothing worth writing about, that’s for sure.

Now, just for some perspective, here are the rules I follow when it comes to making food for myself.

1. Work is bad. The longer it takes to prepare, the less likely I am to bother.

2. Microwaves are good. Nuke me up a frozen enchilada, add a can of Coke, and poof! Lunch.

3. Packaged foods are good. Because sometimes it’s too much trouble to microwave last night’s leftovers, and four slices of cheese and a granola bar are a perfectly acceptable meal.

Got all that? Good.

Poof! Lunch!

At this point, you might be wondering how I justify the discrepancy between how I choose to feed my son and how I choose to feed myself. Well, go ahead and wonder. The truth is, I don’t much bother justifying it. Yes, I care more about what goes into my child’s mouth than I do about what goes into mine. I do harbor some hopes that once he grows into eating ‘grown-up’ food, I’ll continue to care enough about what he eats that I’ll make him the fresh, wholesome foods that I should be eating myself. Who knows? Maybe I’ll make enough for both of us. Then, the Pop Tarts and granola bars can sit on the shelf while we eat seasonal fruit salad and homemade muffins.

Hey, a girl can dream.

In the meantime, I’ll use the finest, freshest produce to make the healthiest and most delicious purées for my beautiful boy, and when I’m done, I’ll sit down with that enchilada and that can of Coke, and consider myself to have accomplished great things.

Disclaimer:

Prologue: Dirty Dishes

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.  ~Rajneesh

A bit of exposition:

I went to a fancy-pants private liberal arts college, majored in something useless, and graduated with middling honors. Then I got married and spent my twenties traveling all over the world and having adventures. I lived in Sicily. I trudged through muddy fields in Cornwall. I had my hand hennaed in Egypt. I ate ox brain in Romania. I smoked shisha in Turkey. I peed behind a bush in Malta. I was much too busy to blog then.

I drank Becherovka in Prague. That stuff is beyond delicious. For reals.

Now, I’m a stay-at-home mom with an 8 month old son, living in Baltimore. And this is a whole new kind of adventure.

When I became pregnant, I determined that I would raise my child free of all toxic chemicals, eating wholesome, delicious, fresh foods that I had cooked myself, wearing organic cottons dyed with vegetable dyes, never touching any plastic that I wasn’t 100% certain was BPA/phthalate/PVC free. We would go to farmer’s markets and buy the freshest produce, mother and child, the baby in a sling and smiling sunnily at all his admirers! It would be easy, and after eating our wholesome, homemade lunches, we would laugh and skip through fields of wildflowers, never once catching poison ivy! Tra la!

That's right, we were going to live in a Renoir.

Reality sets in.

Organic clothes are WICKED expensive. Sure, we’re not poor, we do okay. But $25 for a single bodysuit, which he is guaranteed to vomit on within thirty seconds of having it pulled over his little head? I don’t think so.

Plastics are EVERYWHERE. Of course, you make sure that the spoons and bowls and teethers are all as non-toxic as possible, but you know what else goes into his mouth? EVERYTHING.

Farmer’s markets happen early. Like, in the morning. This is not my best time of day, no matter how sunny the weather and the baby’s smile.

Also? I don’t cook.

I have some issues with the kitchen. One is that I hate it. My least favorite household chore is anything that takes me into that room. Dirty dishes are disgusting and I don’t want to touch them. Cooking food is pointless, because it takes you more time to cook than it does to eat, and what do you have at the end? DIRTY DISHES.

Disgusting.

So.

This blog is all about how I deal with my issues. Many of these concern the cooking problem, and my first posts (you know, the ones I have planned right now–I don’t like to get too far ahead of myself) will include recipes and my personal reviews of the gadgets that I’ve been using to make baby food. Other issues may come out as well, and we’ll deal with these as they happen.

Like in therapy. Yay.

Now, I need to go do some dishes.