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Comida, Glorious, Comida -- Baby's First Meal!

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Guest blogger Christina Montoya Fiedler: I come from a big Mexican family -- loud, lively and wonderful and, for us, food has always been a central part of our lives. It's the smell that invites you home after a long day at work, comforts you in times of sorrow; the smell that lets you know the holidays are coming or that special guests are about to arrive. Food is an occasion in and of itself in our household.


So when the time came from my six-month-old son to start his first solids, we were filled with anticipation.

What to feed him first? My mother suggested frijoles. The doctor did not.

I decided to make my own baby food at home, not only because of the cost savings, but because what could be better than fresh homemade food, made by my hands, for my little one.

Really, the directions for most foods are simple: bake and mush (or boil and mush, or steam and mush, or just mush).

The decision on what to make first came from hours of pouring over baby books, skimming websites and of course a call to our pediatrician. But why all the agonizing?

Out of all the things we have been through with our little guy, his first bite of food seemed to be very special. It taught us the simple beauty of food. The brilliant orange of a carrot, the pulpy flesh of a ripe pear and the sweet smell of a freshly baked butternut squash - all tastes and textures that my baby would be experiencing for the first time. The first time!

Imagine a world of food waiting to be experienced -- a clean slate, if you will, of nutrition.

In a world where we tend to make everything complicated -- this was not. And we liked it.

It taught us how to approach food in a whole different light, to think about what goes into our bodies, about the choices we make each day, and realize the true reason for eating - to energize and nourish ourselves.

In speaking to my friend who recently moved here from Japan, I learned that a baby's first real meal is met with much fanfare in her country. Relatives gather for the big event as the ceremonial first bite is taken, usually rice.

Such was the event at our house. The first food? The sweet potato. I carefully chose the best and most appealing of all the sweet potatoes in the huge overflowing pile of spuds that I could find at our local grocery store. As I baked it, our house was filled with the smell of its sweet juices, which crackled as we took it out to mash.

Finally it was time for his first bite. His reaction? Mixed. Ours? Ecstatic.

Next up, carrots!

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41 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lizzie Olivas February 4, 2009, 3:15 PM

What joy it is to feed our children their first bites! And to relive it with our grandchildren is so exciting.That is too funny,as a Mexican-American grandma, I too want to feed my grandson his first bite of frijoles (beans),simmered to a perfection. I enjoyed reading the article tremendously.

Ashley Arant February 4, 2009, 3:47 PM

Terrific article, Christina! Every step with your first child is monumental. Kudos for embracing and celebrating it.

brian Pilgrim February 4, 2009, 4:17 PM

Brilliant. I am not a parent, but know many. The way she describes the event makes me want to cook a sweet potato and taste it for the first time all over again. She painted a wonderful canvas of words about what is is to be a parent.

Sarah Perez February 4, 2009, 10:39 PM

I just had beans for dinner! It makes everything taste better. So does the avocado. The sweet potato is an unusual choice. I didn’t try it until last year! I’m not a fan. But I think starting at an early age is good. Joe will make healthier choices than we did as kids. Good article. Now i feel like making a salad!

Kathy Fiedler February 5, 2009, 11:00 AM

I loved this article! I could smell the sweet potato. And feel the anticipation of baby’s first bite. It’s another step in parenting as well as babyhood - imagining what is that taste on my tongue?! Look forward to your next blog.

Courtney Knight February 6, 2009, 3:06 AM

Homemade baby food is the best. They almost can eat what you are eating for your meals. It’s so fun to pop the frozen food out of the ice trays to heat up!! It also makes you eat more healthy when cooking for the little ones! Great Article!!

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