Your dream of being a celebrity chef was probably dashed the first time you burnt your instant ramen (you gotta add water, bro). But the good news is: you now have a baby that thinks you’re a celebrity. Sure, they don’t know what a celebrity is, and they might not be particularly enthused about taking a selfie with you, but you’re basically their favorite.
And guess what? Your kid is ready to eat basically whatever you put in their face around 4 months of age, and baby food is super easy to make. Get ready to stoke those celebrity chef fires again (just keep the fire extinguisher handy).
Just like anything in the world, you can go crazy with baby food making gadgets. There are devices that steam, puree, warm, cool, and otherwise manipulate your kid’s grub for you at the touch of a button. But just like you’d love a Porsche, sometimes you’ve gotta get to your job on a broke-ass Huffy.
That said, one of the best things about baby food is that it’s just mush. And just about anything that can physically make mush will work for making baby food. So think things like food processors, blenders, mashed-potato mashers, forks (power drills, comically-sized mallets).
You can apply these tools to easily-mashed ingredients. But other ingredients may need cooked before you go wild with the blender. For that you’ll need a steamer, or a pot with a steam basket (which is interestingly also what you call your shorts after a pickup basketball game with the guys).
If you’re concerned about pesticides and synthetic chemicals, you don’t need to apply your money to organic foods. In fact, a lot of the foods your kid will dig most come with peels that protect the good stuff from the bad stuff. Others tend to be naturally low in pesticides. Here are some things you might want to get in your baby’s maw.
- Peas: Come in a shell and are tasty as hell.
- Sweet Potatoes: It doesn’t matter if you call them yams or whatever, just steam them and mash. High in nutrients and goodness.
- Bananas: Super sweet and easy to mash up.
- Avocados: Another easy ingredient to mash that makes a great base for adding additional ingredients.
- Whatever You’re Eating: If it’s something you can turn into a puree, go ahead and do that (maybe save Korean short ribs until later, though).
First thing you’ll want to do is wash the ingredients. Even those ingredients that might seem safe could have stuff on them you don’t want to put into your kids face.
Also, you’re going to want to keep as many nutrients in the mix as possible. So if you’re cooking, apply the power of steam which’ll keep the healthy stuff in the food.
It’s pretty simple really: just steam harder veggies and fruits until soft. Add them to whatever masher / blender you choose and process until smooth. If you need more smoothness you can press your mush through a sieve, or listen to that awful song from the Matchbox 20 guy.
The important thing is to not add too much spice or sugar. There’s a couple reasons for this. First, your baby doesn’t need the extra calories. Second, your baby’s tastebuds are lit AF right now. So things will taste more intense for them. Start slow. Don’t hit them with the ghost pepper out of the gate (or ever, probably).
The easiest way to keep this stuff around and ready to roll is by popping the mush into ice cube trays to freeze. When you’re ready to use the food, pop out the cube and thaw. Be careful if you choose to thaw in the microwave though, it could lead to pockets of hot food that could burn your kid’s mouth.
In the end be creatively non-creative. Use simple few simple ingredients. Cook only when necessary and watch your baby consider you the new Emeril. It’s the start of your new Lagasse.