The Hus-b and I recently came to a disturbing realization: the Little Lady eats far, far better than we do. Seriously. All of her food is organic and homemade, and you can literally see the evidence in her rosy cheeks, sparkling clear eyes, and boundless energy. (We, by comparison, look a little pale and completely wiped out.)
Putting so much emphasis on our child’s diet and so little on our own is kind of insane (and also, we suspect, pretty common amongst new parents). We will literally spend hours in the kitchen cooking up beautiful food for our child, only to then phone in a take-out order for the grown-ups. It’s ridiculous, and it’s got to stop, especially as the Little Lady’s palate expands *and* her awareness of our behavior increases. If she can imitate us talking and playing, how long will it be until she turns up her perfect little nose at a wholesome supper in favor of mommy and daddy’s imperial rolls?
So our new campaign is simple: prepare healthy, delicious meals that the entire family can enjoy. No processed crap, no takeout, no spending all darn day cooking. While the Little Lady can’t eat *exactly* the same meal as her parents, a food processor and a little cooking liquid can turn just about any meal into baby food.
It all began by accident really. On Monday night, we were making some carrot soup (an absurdly fabulous, must-try recipe from The Kinloch Lodge by way of Bon Appétit and Epicurious). We were tinkering with the texture a bit, looked down into our chinois and thought, those residual solids look a heck of a lot like baby food. We already knew that the Little Lady liked carrot and tomato (especially our home-canned beauties from last summer), so why not try some seasoned with onion, garlic and ginger? (Thank God we have a non-hysterical pediatrician who encourages flavorful food for infants.)
As you can tell by the Little Lady’s messy little face, the “carrot soup” was a hit. (After which the Hus-b and I promptly congratulated ourselves on creating such an adventurous baby.)
Emboldened, last night we took our pediatrician’s advice to try lentils (a wonderfully iron-rich food) and designed our family meal around it. We prepared organic green lentils simply with carrots, chicken broth and a sprig of fresh thyme, and paired them with the Barefoot Contessa’s classic roast lemon chicken (we used bone-in breasts for more flavor and skipped the white wine) and a simple green salad with real French vinaigrette (this recipe is so fabulous that we made an entire jarful to keep in the fridge). It was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever prepared for the Hus-b, and he enjoyed it so much that he actually went silent (far higher praise from him than “Honey, this is great”). Later we tossed some of the lentils and chicken meat into the food processor, added a little broth, and the Little Lady’s meal was done as well. Verdict: she loves lentils but remains nonplussed by chicken. (If only we could have fed her some of the perfectly crispy skin!)
It may be too soon to chalk this one up as a “W”, but we’re pretty darn pleased that our child remains well-fed and the grown-ups haven’t used the GrubHub app on their iPad all week. Next up: salmon. (We’re feeling brave.)