It may not be the cookbook that I would take with me to a desert island, but it is definitely one of the most-used cookbooks in our kitchen. I bought Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes before Alec started on solids, way back in the day, and I have cooked from it a lot since then.
Today I made roasted red pepper and goat cheese purée for Léonie’s lunch. It’s the third time I’ve tried this recipe with my babes, and to be honest, none of them have really loved it. But I love that they get to try such a wide array of flavours, textures and spices right from the start.
My friend Kacey once said “Alec eats better than I do. Even on date night”. It was an exaggeration of course. But I do love the variety of food that my babies eat, and the fact that it’s all fresh and un-processed and almost completely organic. It feels right to me that I don’t mind tasting their baby food, and that it tastes good, even to me. It’s something that I am proud of.
But that doesn’t mean that it has always been easy.
When I started Alec on solids, I didn’t really know what to make him, beyond the basic first purés. And the logistics of making my own baby food have been both harder and easier than I anticipated. Especially with my second and third children, I probably wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have some of the tools I have had to make it all easier. This book is one of the things that really made it easier to cook for my babies. The recipes are fun and adventurous, but easy and delicious.
If you have a sauce pan and an immersion blender, you can make the baby food in this book. It’s made me cook with ingredients that I’d never even heard of (amaranth!?) and make things I never would’ve considered before (homemade stock). And many of the toddler recipes I continue to make for the entire family and we all love those meals.
I have a Béaba Baby Cook and a ton of other baby food paraphernalia that I use a lot too, but for a new mom who wants to make her own baby food but maybe feels a little daunted about it, Cooking for Baby is the one thing I would recommend buying. What a great baby shower gift!