I have been cataloging food that I make for Madeline (and often end up eating myself). Before I go much further, I want to point out my two favorite baby food recipe books thus far in our short tenure of parenthood:
- The Wholesome Baby Food Guide, by Maggie Meade. I didn’t do much by way of purees for Madeline, but the recipes in the book’s latter chapters are finger-friendly and great. I also love the handy chart of age-based food introduction that you can print for yourself! It lived on our fridge for a while. Also, the book provides guidelines on freezing/storing food, which have been a huge help for planning and cooking daycare-friendly meals.
- The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook, by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I love that they clarify the meaning of “wean” as in the Brit sense 🙂 We’ve made some great dishes from this book that are suitable for all of us — Chris just adds salt and he’s good to go.
Whenever I cook, I tend to adapt recipes to my preference (and figure out shortcuts when I can…). So, the primary purpose of cataloging recipes here is to create a reference of favorites for myself. For example, I adapted Maggie’s Zucchini & Carrot Fritters recipe to make Madeline’s vegetable fritters.
It’s worth mentioning how I decided on these two books as my favorites. First, I went to the library and got a bunch of baby food cookbooks. I realized quickly that we are not a puree family — I much prefer to mash soft foods for her. Another nuance is that we did not start solids until she was well into 6 months of age. We offered her mashed avocado, but she made it clear she wanted the chicken breast on my plate — so I cut up the chicken in tiny pieces and she did just fine. I realized I needed some baby-friendly cookbooks with recipes that actually resembled adult food, and these two made the cut. I love being able to make a large batch of food that not only appeal to baby but also can feed me! So I often cook a meal that we all eat, and then I portion out leftovers for the next few days in the fridge and for daycare in the freezer (in units via an ice cube tray or this baby food tray). I’m not saying that making your own baby food is easy, but I do think that if you want to do it, you can find strategies to optimize the fruits of your labor.
The recipes in these books have been a great source of inspiration as I experiment in the kitchen. If you like to cook, as I do, they are worth perusing.