February 24, 2011

Baby Food Fail

Lately I've been feeling guilty about what Tessa is eating. Breakfast is normally pretty healthy -- yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, that sort of thing -- but lunch and dinner can tend to involve American cheese, cold cuts, pieces of bread, and raisins. Once a day I try to shovel in a jar of pureed vegetables but I have to wait until she's really hungry before she'll dig on it.

She still only has those two bottom teeth, but she seems to slowly be getting better about eating things that she actually has to chew. So I decided to revisit making my own baby food. I started off doing this in the very beginning but eventually stopped because I got pissed off that she spat so much of this time-consuming homemade stuff right in my face. Yesterday I opened up this beautiful cookbook that we bought with the best of intentions when I was pregnant.

Source: Williams-Sonoma
I picked out a pretty little recipe. Looked like something she would eat. Looked like something I would eat. And fit the bill between pureed-to-all-hell and just-a-little-chewy.



Turns out, this book is just a pretty little lie.

I went shopping yesterday. Bought the quinoa, the beets, the butternut squash. Put Tessa down for her nap this morning and peeled the squash and the beets. The whole time I was thinking, I Am Such A Good Mother. Damn, I am really something. I put the healthy vegetables into the oven and baked them, with love and best wishes, for an hour. Then I rinsed and cooked the quinoa. Fluffed it and dolled it up with a little olive oil, a little butter, a little salt. I went ahead and pureed the butternut squash. Scraped that out of the food processor and then pureed the beets, dyeing my hands blood red in the process. I waited for it all to cool down, and then I put Tessa optimistically into her highchair. Put on her bib. And spooned that first glorious bite into her mouth.


I might as well have fed her a dog turd. She was disgusted. I spent five frustrating minutes trying to convince her that she was wrong, that this really was a great meal, while she rubbed beets all into her hair, her shirt, her highchair, and her bib and spit out kernels of quinoa all over me. I got pretty ticked off and walked away to do a little deep breathing in the kitchen.

But in the kitchen all I saw was a sink full of dirty dishes and a bunch of worthless baby food that she won't eat.


In the end I gave her a piece of her precious American cheese. And a piece of ham. And a piece of bread torn up into bits. And she made nom-nom-nom sounds and crossed her little feet at the ankles and was so very happy.



Her shirt and bib are permanently stained with beets and she had to have a bath right after lunch.

I know this is just the beginning. Nekos and I both really like fruits and vegetables though so I guess I will just keep trying with her. There are lots of frustrating things about motherhood, but I find cooking a meal for someone who spits it back in your face to be one of the most frustrating.

Any thoughts about how to get this stubborn little girl to eat vegetables?

16 comments:

  1. this might be my favorite blog post ever. thank you for your honesty. stupid beets.

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  2. Beets are tart and full of fiber. They can be extreme for a little one. One of my favorite things to do in order to get Millie to eat her veggies, is put them in "ball" form. I use beans or potatoes as my base, mash them and then add the peas, carrots, mango, squash whatever to the base. A little salt to taste, bread crumbs and egg to bind. If you do not want to use the egg no need to really. Make into balls or patties, bake or sear in a skillet. Most kids like this and I have found it to be the most exciting way to make veggies go down. Plus, they taste great! You can eat them too!

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  3. My lesson was keep it simple. Anytime I tried a fancy recipe, Johnny hated it. For veggies, I stuck with homemade peas, squash and sweet potato (not together). Buy frozen peas and/or squash, steam, puree (don't overcook the peas). Roast the sweet potato, mash. Of course, now that's he's eating big boy food, he won't touch sweet potatoes or squash. Only green beans and broccoli. And we still haven't figured out the meat thing--he just won't eat it.

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  4. Ok. I am almost hyperventilating here. But only because I want to help you with this so badly! Not because I think I know it all about baby food, but because I really think my finger food thing could work for you! I agree with Tamara - keep it simple. Beets?? You MUST be crazy. If only because of the mess. That book is just wrong. And, you worked way too much. Again, simple. June has been eating steamed broccoli, steamed sweet potato, cooked and blended brown rice and bananas for two months and still loves them. But it's all about making her feel like she's in control. I'm telling you, it's a mind game. And then you pretend you don't care. We will spend more time on this and get that girl eating REAL FOOD. No more processed cheese. hahaha.

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  5. PS: sorry that last comment was so long, but you did ask for it. :-)

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  6. Dye the shirt with the beet water. Eat them yourself. And cut yourself some slack, that kid looks great :)

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  7. I wish I could eat that!

    HILARIOUS post! so freakin funny. I did not like beets til I was in my 20s. I bet she would like just the butternut squash puree?

    but growing up my favorite snack was microwaved cut up hot dogs dipped in mayo so don't worry!

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  8. ps I like how triumphant she looks with her cheese...

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  9. I would mix a little bit of applesauce in Cash's veggies when he was little...he would eat them right up :)

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  10. i love beets but they are the worst!!!! at least she saved you from some pink poop!! ;)

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  11. I am so glad you shared this story. I, too, tried and tried to make Hannah baby food with no success! I now just make sure that at every meal I serve, there is atleast one thing I know she will eat. For us, it is usually some diced up fresh fruit. I just buy the pre-cut kind from the local store so there is variety. Other than that, she lives on bread, cheese, cold cuts, and fried chicken. Ha! By the way, Tessa is beautiful! Good luck :)

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  12. Have you ever tried the Jennifer Seinfeld books...Deceptively Delicious!
    I used a lot of canned baby food and hid it in "good" foods that my son loved.
    Also cooked baby carrots and things that she can mash with her gums are still game. Just keep offering and one day she'll eat.... and then she'll turn 2 and start being picky again!

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  13. i was so excited at the start of this post.. the book looked so great! well boo hiss.. williams sonoma is always so good!

    on a sidenote; we have the same highchair! happy weekend!

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  14. thanks all for the feedback. I've gotten some great ideas from everyone. and i have lots of new things to try with Tessa. Mostly i just need to give myself a break probs. :)

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  15. So funny. We are health nuts and our little guy's favorite food of all time is sausage. When I make fancy baby food I make sure it's something we all like so it never goes to waste (and I figure at least he will get it in the breastmilk!) They seem to be drawn to sweet and salty. Just keep offering the foods and over time they change their minds. His favorite fruit/veggie dishes right now are 1) steamed spinach pureed with quinoa, cheese and salt, 2) broccoli dipped in soy sauce, and 3) any type of fruit blended with soymilk.

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  16. You too, eh?

    http://www.letterstomo.com/2011/11/baby-food-making-fail.html

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