It’s time to put the “food” back in baby food. Jenny Carenco delivers more than 100 enticing recipes that will introduce baby to new flavors, ingredients and textures in Bébé Gourmet (The Experiment, 2012). Encourage healthy eating habits while offering satisfying, homemade meals that are easy for today’s busy parents to make. The following excerpt by Dr. Jean Lalau Kerlay, gives you tips for preparing your own homemade baby food with ease.
A bit clichéd, maybe, yet it’s completely true. In order to keep your sanity (and get some sleep), your only life preserver is a well-thought-out plan. You’ll see: By integrating the techniques and recipes into your routine bit by bit, you will be able to follow it without even thinking. And it’s at this moment that you’ll say to yourself, “In fact, making food for my brood is not witchcraft!” But before we get there, let’s do a quick theoretical trial run . A champion’s logistical foundations can be enumerated on only one hand:
Rule 1: Always Have a Supply of “Savior Foods” on Hand
Why saviors? Because if you always have them in stock, they’ll be your lifesavers, enabling you to pull together healthy, quick, and delicious recipes for the whole family! Without these culinary basics, each recipe will feel like Mount Everest, forcing you to shop every day for one or two missing ingredients—a real nightmare for a working parent. So be sure to have a few savior foods in your pantry.
Rule 2: Pool Recipes
Sure, you are going to cook these recipes for your baby. But look at it from another angle: The vegetables or ingredients that you’re going to prepare for your budding gourmet can also serve as the basis for your own meals. That way you won’t feel as though you’re spending the whole night in the kitchen, dreaming up separate meals for your baby, the older children, and for the evening tête-à-tête with your partner. Share the wealth! For almost every recipe in this book, I’ve given you “Yummy Tips” for transforming the baby recipe into a tasty dish for grown-ups.
Rule 3: Make Extra and Do Less Work Later
Let’s be honest. There are evenings when even the most organized of parents simply doesn’t have the twenty minutes it takes to prepare a simple meal: think never-ending managers’ meeting, massive traffic jam, incubating flu . . . Don’t panic. The perfect planner in you has already prepared for this possibility. Just take one of your “emergency containers” (that you made up on one of your more courageous days) out of the freezer. If you’re worried you’ll never have one of those courageous days to devote expressly to cooking the emergency supplies, no problem. My extreme laziness also inspired this iron-clad logic: All I had to do was cook larger quantities of baby meals than I needed and freeze the leftovers.
Rule 4: Make a Weekly Meal Plan
Life will be so much easier if you organize your menus for the week ahead. First, you’ll be able to do your shopping all at once and avoid the horror of the crowded supermarket on your way home from work. You’ll also be able to plan your recipes around your schedule. Are your Tuesday nights cut short by that endless meeting your boss insists on holding at 6 pm? Then put the osso buco on hold and use your always-calm Monday evening to make Tuesday’s ratatouille. In one word, plan in order to manage your time effectively.
Rule 5: Make Sunday Evenings Your Logistical Ally
You’ll tell anyone who will listen: I’m sick of Sunday-night films from the eighties! Well, instead of vegetating before the umpteenth showing of Back to the Future II, use this night to get a head start on your weekly dinner menus. Putting on your favorite music and spending one hour in the kitchen will save you much needed time during the rest of the week—when you’re likely to be feeling tired, stressed, and irritable. Prepare all the sauces that need some time to simmer, then freeze them, leaving only accompaniments like pasta and couscous to cook at the last minute. To be honest, this Sunday cooking time alone with my thoughts and my music is a real escape for me. And when I have to spend only three minutes to reheat those pre-prepared meals, I’m simply ecstatic.
From Bébé Gourmet: 100 French-Inspired Baby Food Recipes for Raising an Adventurous Eater, copyright © Jenny Carenco, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.
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