Wednesday, 27 January 2010

TV dinners

George reached his eight-month milestone this past week and as he was born three weeks and four days early it means he has been outside his mummy about as long as he was inside his mummy. It's sort of hard to believe really, because those months when he was inside his mummy were inexorably slow – probably because we'd been waiting for him for so long – and the ones he's been outside his mummy have positively flown by.

The last two of those months have involved weaning. After catching the recent episode of Panorama about what children are eating (or rather are being fed) we're determined not to go down the route of packet food and ready meals.

Initially we bought four jars of organic baby food, but started by making our own meals so that we know exactly what's in them – there are still three jars of food sitting in the fridge, fast approaching their sell-by dates and if we don't have to use them we'll be quite happy.

Recently mummy was out with George and got in a bit of a quandary when the baby-friendly cafe said it couldn't blast George's home-made beef stew and pea and leek puree in its industrial-strength microwave. She managed to get hold of a couple of pouches of organic baby food (main course and dessert) that can be eaten hot or cold and that she'd seen other mums use. Well, George was having none of it and in the end mummy ordered a jacket potato with a little butter and cheese and they shared it quite happily.

Later that day mummy returned and brought home the almost-full pouch of dessert for daddy to try – mainly because she was surprised at how vile something with the word 'scrummy' on the front could actually taste... and she was right. Daddy squeezed a blob on his finger – it looked like 'No Nails' (that's the DIY super-strength glue), felt like 'No Nails' and tasted like, well, I haven't tasted 'No Nails', but I imagine it would be similar.

It's no wonder babies turn their noses up at healthy foods when they're made to taste so awful. We've been adapting the recipes we cook for ourselves and (I've made a list) in the past two and a bit months George has enjoyed quite a variety of ingredients:
aubergine, apple, apricot, banana, basil, beef, blueberries, broccoli, butternut squash, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cheese, chicken, cod, courgette, egg, gammon, green beans, lamb, leek, lychees, mango, melon, mint, onion, oregano, parsley, parsnip, pasta, pear, peas, plum, porridge, potato, salmon, spinach, strawberries, swede, sweet potato, tomato.

The only things he hasn't been keen on are the broccoli (no surprises there) and the lychees – which was down to texture rather than flavour, as he'd quite happily swish them about on his tongue before smiling and letting it all dribble from the corners of his mouth.

We tend to cook batches of meals and freeze them in large 'ice-cube' trays, popping them out and mixing and matching. The thing is, even though George is getting a healthy and balanced diet, it's generally defrosted or heated up in the microwave and as soon as the light comes on and the hum kicks in he rolls up in his walker flapping his arms and grunting with anticipation. I suppose when his eating routine falls more in line with ours he'll soon realise that meals don't appear with a ping from the 'magic food telly' in the corner.


  1. Whoever thought of that freezing food in ice trays thing is a GENIUS. There is seriously no reason to buy baby food when you can do a quick boil and pure session followed by weeks of supply in perfect size portions in the freezer. Annabel Karmel's book is awesome, if you don't have it already(well, one of them, I think there are a few. I'm using the complete baby and toddler guide, or something similar, and can highly recommend it). It's actually made me cook with fresh ingredients for us (the parents) too and we're eating a lot better than we ever did before the baby started on solids.

  2. Yes, we have the Annabel Karmel book too and some of the recipes we cook are out of there – looking forward to making food that has faces – as soon as you start growing up it suddenly stops. I say bring it back – let's see mash potato hair on Masterchef, a banana smile on The Hairy Bikers and Jamie Oliver using peas for eyes.