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October 26, 2006


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I'm not an expert, nor do I have kids, but I'd strongly suggest reaching out to the French in this regard. They just start out with mashed up versions of what the adults are eating (though nothing too spicy), and by the time the kids are in kindergarten they're already developing an adult appreciation about their strong cheeses and other flavorful ingredients.

Obviously kids growing up in Thailand or India or South America or anywhere else with an intensely flavorful culinary tradition are raised on such delicacies; why do we have to feed our children in America with food devoid of flavor?

I can't imagine raising a child on bland, heavily processed food. I know there's some things that you need to avoid (like honey in the first year), but for the vast majority of human history we've gotten by without McDonald's and Cheerios.

I was delighted at a recent backyard barbeque I attended where a couple of new parents let their baby chew on a pork rib bone, with supervision of course. Both of them were huge BBQ fans and wanted the child to develop an appreciation early. Plus, it's cheaper than a teething ring. :)


My mother reminds me every five seconds that she simply mashed up whatever she was eating in a "baby food masher" (this might have been a baby-portion sized manual device in the days before cheap cuisinarts) and that it was so much healthier than processed and preserved junk. Women in third-world countries simply chew as if they were eating for themselves and then share some of it with the baby. If you eat good food, why shouldn't your baby?

Hi Lenn,

We asked the same question when we had our baby. The classic book is Super Baby Food, which we initially found useful but in the end did what Benito and Jason advocate -- just mashing up what you're eating. If I remember correctly, cereal eating begins at 3 months, solid foods at 6 mo. Almost all of the nutrition is still from milk at this time, with the solid (mashed) foods being more about getting used to adult foods. Since you guys obviously eat very well, it will be a great transition.


mashed banana and cereal mixed with a touch of water...ready to go almost anywhere even without appliances.

I couldn't agree more about simply giving your baby mashed-up versions of what you're eating. That's what we did with our son, who is now 13 months old and happily enjoying everything from typical toddler food like macaroni and cheese to more adventurous fare like massaman curry or grilled lamb. You do have to start somewhere, though, and Simply Natural Baby Food by Cathe Olson is a good reference. Some "recipes" aren't really recipes at all (Recipe for "Millet and Peas" is: mix up millet and peas), but for me, the book was a good starting point in terms of which foods to try, which I could then use in my own recipes. Good luck!

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