Confession: I’m having a confidence crisis with this site. All of the warning signs were there from the beginning: my disbelief that anyone would appreciate my guidance in the “cook, then purée” approach to food and my disinterest in engaging the kind of “you’re doing it wrong!” commentary that accompanies any parenting discussions on the internet. (However, as a testament to your awesomeness, only a few peeps of it have shown up here but even those disproportionally exasperate me.) (P.S. I think you’re doing a great job.)
I had my doubts about carrots. It doesn’t matter that I like all formats of carrot, gleefully pickling them, shredding them, roasting them and even puréeing them into salad dressing, I failed to see how carrot mush could be appetizing for a 7-month old. Perhaps I underestimated his taste buds. Then again, this is a 7-month old who likes to lick (lick! aah! way to send an otherwise calm mama into a Purell-dousing frenzy) the chain on the swings at New York City public parks, perhaps I actually overestimated them.
There’s an old-school rule in blogging: Don’t begin a post with an apology. Nobody cares! They’re just happy you’re there! But guys, I’m sorry, because this post is photo-bereft. I made pears while I was still firmly of the mind that nobody would ever need my boring “cook, then puree” baby food recipes and only snapped a couple shots. I’ll turn in my food blogging credentials now.
Although pears were only the second “dish” I made for the baby, I was already getting impatient to move onto more exciting things. I had been trying to adhere to the “only introduce one new food at a time” rule, which meant that with only apples under his belt (also, his chin, neck rolls and toes, somehow, and do not even try to wipe his face, okay?) I couldn’t jump into the pear-parsnips, pear-peaches and pear-prunes I was chomping at the bit to whiz up. Sure, I could add cinnamon to plain pears, but I really don’t want the baby to think that all cooked fruit tastes like cinnamon, especially when the hope is to introduce new flavors. So I decided to hedge things a little — yes, this is what counts as “walking on the wild side” in these post-salad days — and added a little vanilla bean and a glug of an aged, sweet balsamic vinegar.
And so we started with applesauce. Well, technically my baby’s first “foods” were some impossible-to-resist crinkly paper from the examination table at his pediatrician’s (or whatever I missed in Mama’s First Tiny Mouf Fingersweep) and some diluted, organic, no sugar added prune juice, but we don’t really need to get into the rationale behind that, do we?
Despite having baked more apple pies, tarts, crumbles, grunts, brown bettys, muffins and cakes in the last five years than most people do in their lifetimes, I’d actually never made applesauce before. Needless to say, mastery of applesauce is a great trick to have up your sleeve when you a) have a wee one underfoot and b) live in an area where apples are pretty much the only locally-grown fruit available from October through April. I knew Elise would never steer me wrong, thus I turned to her recipe for guidance, nixing the sugar and lemon juice, as I understand we’re supposed to ease into the citruses further down the road.