Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Introductions (Sort Of) and A Selection From The Archives

I should probably back up a step here and tell you about about two of the players you'll encounter here from time-to-time.

While I am a blogger who happens to be a mother, I do not see myself as a "mommy blogger" per se. That being said, I will certainly have posts that involve my children so here they are:

S, 3 1/2, is a spirited girl, in both the positive and challenging ways. In spite of my best efforts, she is discovering princesses and her favorite colors are pink and purple.

S's little brother, A (age 2), is all boy. This child hasn't found a sport he doesn't love nor has he found an elevated surface from which he won't jump.

Though I'm happily married, thank you very much, my husband won't come up here except in a very minor role. My marriage is the one topic that is completely off limits.


All of that out of the way, I thought I'd include the following personal essay I sent my mother and aunt back in the day when S. was just starting solid foods and I had the time/energy/inclination to make my own baby food.

Dear Mom & Aunt N-

So, as you may know, I've been making a good bit of S's baby food myself. It's been very rewarding -- my little "Martha Stewart" moment each week as I carefully prepare, puree, and freeze various fruits, vegetables and meats for her dining pleasure. So far it has gone well - most things turn out well, and very few aren't worth the effort (raspberries come to mind).

Lately, S. has been fond of bananas and apples. That's great, in the sense that she's getting plenty of fruit in her diet; not so great in that apples and bananas have a way of slowing down her little digestive system. In an effort to keep things moving along at their usual pace, I am trying to incorporate more fiber into her diet.

At the store today, I was browsing the dried fruit section for apricots when I also spied dried prunes. Before today the only thing I knew about prunes was that they are good for the purpose mentioned above, i.e., keeping a person's pipes clear. I figured it would be prudent for me to whip up a batch of prunes to have on hand as necessary for S's well being.

You're probably both a bit more familiar with dried prunes that I am (that is not an age joke - just a statement of fact). They have a sticky-sweet smell and a not-so-appetizing shriveled dark brown appearance. From my experience with different foods over the past few months, I deduced that the best way to prepare the prunes for the pureeing process was to poach them. This went quite well and the kitchen filled with the smell of earthy sweetness as the dried fruit simmered on the stove.

All was going along quite well. And then it was time to puree.

I don't know if you've ever had the experience of pureeing prunes, but to say it was surprising would be kind. First of all, they are very sticky and tough -- I had to add nearly a cup of water to my mini food processor to get them to a manageable consistency. Then there was the smell: At this point I have been smelling prunes, either poaching or being pureed, for nearly 30 minutes. The sticky-sweet-earthiness has slowly turned into an overwhelming stench. But the smell was nothing compared to their appearance.

As someone who has been changing a baby's diapers for over eight months,there was only one thing I could think of as I watched the tar-like brown puree whip around in the food processor. The similarities grew even more apparent as I spooned the puree into the ice cube trays for freezing. At this point, my senses were so overwhelmed and the associations with baby poop so vivid (I mean, really, what's the point of even feeding it to her since it will look the same coming out as it will going in?) that I had to fight the urge to give up and just wash it all down the sink. I think that the only thing that kept me from following through on that impulse was the thought of what this sludge would do to our pipes.

As two ice cube trays full of pureed poached prunes set in my freezer, there's only one thing I can say about this whole experience: I now know for sure that there are some baby foods that are best prepared by someone else.

Love, Me


Kate Coveny Hood said...

You are a good woman for doing any of that pureeing. I went through a Deceptively Delicous/Sneaky Chef phase of cooking which required lots of pureeing. I've given up because apparently - there is not "sneaking" vegetables into my kids meals...but I do remember how arduous that pureeing was. Maybe I should have just bought jars of baby food!

R.E.M. said...

Thanks, Kate. This was back in the blissfully ignorant days when we only had S. to occupy our time and attention. Let the record show that I did not make a single ounce of A's baby food!

A Mom Two Boys said...

I knew when Dylan was born that I was best left to allowing others to prepare my children's food. It's served me (and them) well.

Can't wait to be able to get your two and my two together...FINALLY. Hopefully next year sometime. *sigh*