We all want flavourful and healthy food but some parents are content to give bland and bottled meals to the smallest members of the family. Lisa Barnes has lots of fresh and interesting ideas for babies from 6 months to 18 months old. She is the founder of Petit Appetit, a culinary service that teaches parents how to provide healthy food to their children. Lisa is the author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook which won the iParenting Media Award.
Cooking for Baby has the appeal of a child’s story book. A pastel palette and strong images are complemented by the photography of Jeff Tucker and Kevin Hossler. Plenty of cute babies but also pictures of delicious food that would entice even the fussiest of eaters.
There are 80 recipes which are divided into sections appropriate for babies of 6 months, 7 to 8 months, 9 to 11 months and 12 to 18 months. It’s true that babies develop at different rates so ask at the clinic if you are not sure when to introduce new foods into your child’s diet. The Key Nutrients information at the back of the book will give you more ideas about providing a balanced diet for growing youngsters.
Nobody will report you to the authorities if you give your baby a jar of food from time to time. Let’s be practical! It’s easier and probably safer to use pre-prepared commercial meals when you are travelling, but when at home you can easily make your own. Use organic produce and the best quality ingredients and you will be encouraging your child to have the taste for good wholesome foods.
Lisa gives you all the advice you’ll need to prepare delicious and safe meals for your children as they grow from small babies to toddlers. The First Tastes chapter is, as you would expect, a collection of purees. Sweet Potato Puree is a good example of a recipe that can be adapted for all the family. Your baby of six months will enjoy the thinned puree but you and the older kids can have lovely sophisticated sweet potato mash.
There are some chunkier meals in the New Flavours chapter for the 7 to 8 month babies, so Lentils and Lamb, and Asparagus “Risotto”, add more flavour and more texture to the diet. There are still purees to be found here but on the whole the foods are becoming more flavourful. Lisa offers lists of herbs and spices to add to the dishes.
Kids of any age will enjoy the recipes, especially those aimed at toddlers. Turkey Minestrone, Minty Aubergine Dip, and Meatballs with Polenta are easy to prepare and will be appreciated by everyone. You can adjust the seasoning for older family members and that’s a lot less time-consuming than cooking separate meals every evening.
Cooking for Baby is a volume that will give confidence to any young mum who wants to become more involved in her child’s diet.
Cooking for Baby
Author: Lisa Barnes
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018