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!
|Christina Montoya Fiedler resides in Los Angeles, CA, with husband Andy and her son Joseph. She juggles baby and work from home as a freelance publicist and attributes her strong love for life and sense of humor to her loving familia.|