Comments: Feeding Time at the Zoo


I love the veggie bite in the middle of a fruit train trick. I think what I witnessed went by the spoonful - Veg, veg, veg, veg (balks), fruit, fruit, fruit, veg, fruit, fruit, veg, fruit, veg, fruit, veg (balks), fruit, fruit, veg.

It was sheer genius!

Hi Meg -- what a TERRIFIC post. FYI, I've included it in today's Veggies for Kids post over at A Veggie Venture. THANK YOU!! Alanna

Enough about the kiddies...where did you get all those Ziploc bags? I'm green with envy!

My son's father used to make homemade baby food for our boy in much the same way you describe and for all the same reasons. It's just too easy. And as a result, my kid has grown up loving a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Never tried the toy trick, but come to think of it, I never had to. The homemade baby food was so tasty that it wasn't necessary. You did a great service to parents everywhere with this post. I just hope that plenty of them stop by to read it and take your advice.

Thanks for the kind comments, all! I forgot to add disclaimer Number Two: obviously, I'm not a doctor. You should consult your doctor about when and how to introduce new foods and make sure there are a few days between each new one. Apparently I shouldn't have given the Boy strawberries before one year, but luckily for us he had no problem with them!

David, my Monoprix has ziplock bags. Not every time I go there, but say two out of three. And they are actually the zip-lock brand!

Thanks for this post. I try to make food for my 9 month old most of the time but also give him food from the jar out of convenience. My baby gags everytime I feed him homemade green beans but he loves the store-bought stuff. Any suggestions?

Maria, I think that in addition to the sugar, salt and fat that are too often included in jars of baby food what appeals a lot to them is the industrially smooth consistency. Green beans (and peas, for that matter) are especially difficult to get smooth because they have tough skins. Beans also have the seeds and fibers in the center, all very difficult to purée. I know my guy sometimes gags on them too, and it's not because he dislikes the flavor but because he's got a bit of fiber stuck at the back of his throat.

I'm not sure there's a perfect solution to the problem but two ideas come to mind. Firstly, you can try puréeing for longer to see if you can get it smoother. Secondly, you could try adding a bit of rice cereal or formula to make the purée lighter in color. Then the bits that didn't get completely processed will stand out as a darker color and you can avoid them.

Good luck! My husband tells me that when he and his first wife tried to transition their daughter from store-bought food to homemade "it was like trying to get her off crack cocaine"! (Which, incidentally, is another reason I hope to stick to homemade!) It sounds like you are doing a much better job already!

Meg: You are in love with your Monoprix (heck I would be too..) White wine vinegar, arborio rice, Ziploc bags...all i ever discover at my Monoprix is inexpensive rosé and fresh milk for coffee.
You have Monop-Mania, as they say.

That's me! What they carry seems to vary a lot from shop to shop, though. I think I've been pretty lucky, first in Auteuil and now in the 17th. When I try to order from them online they don't have ANY of the cheap white wine I like. (You can tell how long that online ordering trend lasted...not very!)

Great post, Meg--I think you should not have hesitated to make it. Feeding babies is just as important, heck, really, more important than feeding adults. So what if they eat pureed food that isn't pretty? It is still something very, VERY worth writing about.

One trick you might try for the green beans and peas to deal with the skins and fibers.

Get an old fashioned food mill. It is basically a conicle chinoise mousseline with a grinding plate that turns with a hand crank. We used these in culinary school to make smoked fish pate and mousse--you put the filets in whole and turn the crank, and the grinding plate forces the food down through the very fine screen of the chinoise, but leaves the skin and bones behind on the other side.

When my Grandma made applesauce, she used the same device, and it left any bits of core and skin, with perfect cooked apple puree going into the canning jars.

I am sure you can find them at any cookware store in Paris--chefs still prefer them for some applications to any sort of electric blender or processor. They will make perfect skin-free bean and pea puree for your little guy. I promise. Cross my heart and Girl Scout's Honor and all that. ;-)

Barbara, thanks for the tip! Actually, I have one of those in a box in my kitchen intended for charity as the few times i've used it the thing has not been very efficient and a real pain to clean. Maybe what I need to do is find a smaller one that has parts that fit correctly? This one was bought cheaply at the now-famous-local-Monoprix. It just seems to turn round and round with very little coming through. I think it's probably too large for the size jobs I would normally do. And just a cheaply made piece of equipment. Just goes to show (for the millionth time) that you get what you pay for!!

You can get small ones specifically made to do baby food in the US--and I bet you can get them in France, too.

Most of the ones I have worked with are very large--professional kitchen sized, actually.

Another trick would be to take a chinoise mousseline, and use a wooden pestle that is a cone that fits the conicle shape of the chinoise, with a round knob at the end of it. You use the pestle to push the cooked food through the screen of the chinoise. I forgot about just using the chinoise, because I have done the food mill thing so much more often, though I have had to put a sauce through a chinoise a few times.

Glad to be of help!

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