You know the kind’a eats, the kind’a red HOT sweets, the kind’a sticky licky treats I crave! ~Audrey II, from Little Shop of Horrors
Last week we made Awesomesauce, and it was, well, awesomesauce. But did you know that you can use it to trick your baby into eating meat? It’s true.
Bizarrely, babies don’t seem to have a natural affinity for meat (unlike most grownups. Mmm, bacon.) Well, maybe it’s not that bizarre — it’s not sweet, it doesn’t puree nicely, and generally your meat-based baby foods are pretty nast. So unless you’re a vegetarian and want your child to be one too (damn dirty hippie*), you need to find ways to make pureed meat taste good and have a texture your baby will like. And one way to do that is with Awesomesauce! Hurrah!
The following recipe can be made in two ways. With turkey it is Awesome Turkey. With pork it is Peter Brady.
Cooked turkey or pork (I use leftover or held-aside ground turkey or pork chops; this would probably also work with chicken, beef, lamb, or even a mild fish, but in those cases you’d have to come up with your own cutsie names.)
A shot glass full of Turkish Raki**
Chop up the meat, if necessary, into little pieces — the smaller the better, as it’ll blend more easily. Take a refreshing sip of raki, bearing in mind that this is for sipping, NOT for shooting. Put the meat into the blender (the countertop blender works best for this). Dump in enough awesomesauce to make the mixture blend smoothly — start out with about the same amount of sauce as you have of meat, and add more until it blends up without you having to stir or shake the blender. Once it’s blending well on its own, let it go for a minute (long enough to sip your raki a couple more times) so that the meat is well pureed and integrated. If you feel that the chunks might be too big, blend some more. Ta da! Done! Finish your raki and pat yourself on the back.
Now, the thing about a recipe like this is that you have to use your Own Best Judgement (are you okay with that? I know, it’s scary. Just take a deep breath and remember — you are a grownup. You can do things and reason and possibly even drive. You can handle this.) You have to figure out things like: How thick or thin does your baby prefer his or her food? How chunky can it be? It’s usually a good idea to err on the side of caution and make this thinner and smoother, at least at first. Your baby will tell you what he or she likes. How you and your baby feel about spices also comes into play.
As an example, my baby loooooooooooooves Awesome Turkey. It’s fantabulous and terrific, and he gobbles it down yelling “Feed Me!” like an Audrey II. Given Peter Brady, though — well, you saw how he reacted to rice cereal the first time. It was much the same. I tried adding more cinnamon, since he usually loves it, but that didn’t work. My husband tried cumin, and that didn’t work either. I was beginning to think that I was going to have to eat the stuff myself, just to keep it from going to waste. Almost despairing, I looked in our spice cupboard and decided to try garam masala, since it seemed like it would go well with the sweetness of the Awesomesauce. I added a big pinch of it to about two ounces of Peter Brady and … I won’t say that he loved it, but he liked it well enough to eat it, and that’s all I really wanted. Besides, now I can honestly say that my infant son will only eat certain dishes with Indian seasonings, and how cool is that in a really, REALLY white child? Pretty cool. (Pretentious momma bragging rights, is what that’s all about.)
So next time you’re cooking with pork chops or turkey, set some aside, defrost a big mess of Awesomesauce, and see what you can come up with!
*This is meant satirically. I actually have great respect for damn dirty hippies, having been accused on many occasions of being one.
**My choice of beverage here is inspired by my memories of the Spice Market in Istanbul, which is where the picture above was taken (not by me). Since I was feeling spicy, I decided that you could all benefit from trying some traditional Turkish booze. Yum!