Thursday, December 17, 2009

Santa baby

I got the new Williams Sonoma catalog in the mail yesterday afternoon, which is my guilty pleasure right after the Zingerman's catalog and those weird little SkyMall catalogs you get in the airplanes. I mean, a statue of a giant Yeti to put in your front lawn? Or a scalp massager that also cuts onions? How can you resist?

So, upon browsing through this catalog while waiting for the subway, I saw a few things that I'd love to see under the tree:

An All-clad Gourmet double-burner grill
A new sauce pan or three (in smaller sizes, please, since I have a lot of larger ones)
And I am actually in need of a new pepper-mill

However, there was one thing that caught my eye in this catalog, but not because I particularly want it: there was a whole spread devoted to tools and gadgets to help make baby food. And I'm talking serious stuff. Special silicon trays with "baby food sized" indentations so you can freeze all the heirloom produce you lovingly pulped for your little budding gastronome, who is probably much more interested in what is going on with their diaper than anything you are cooking. Yet they actually have a thing called a "babycook" which is a tiny little steamer and puree-er all in one, and it is not cheap.

I understand the reasoning behind making your own baby food--more economical and you avoid any preservatives or artificial ingredients that might come with regular ol' Gerber food-- and yet this all just seems obsessive to me, even bordering on absurd. I'm all for giving kids a healthy and diverse diet. My parents were always leading by example and exposing us to new foods and never gave us "Lunchables" or nasty stuff like that--we got salami sandwiches with brown mustard for lunch, fresh plums and Asian pears sent over from my grandmother's backyard orchard in California, and we were eating sushi for family dinners long before it became trendy.

But when you do not even have teeth and your day revolves around soiling your own pants, I do not think you are in need of a culinary education just yet. But just to see if my opinions on "baby cook" where valid, I asked my mom, who raised four children who all grew up to be good eaters once they become fully functional.

She laughed out loud. "Make your own baby food? I mean, that's a nice idea, but babies don't eat food. Babies eat what is on the floor or whatever is covered in dog hair. Baby food is for smearing on their face, spitting up, and throwing against the wall." I think for a long time, my mom believed that maybe modern science had it all wrong...babies actually don't eat through their mouths, but rather absorbed the nutrients directly through their skin. Ha! If only...she does have a point though. You see a baby with food smeared all over its entire body, and boy, do they have a huge grin on their face. Sheer delight!

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