Jun 22, 2013

D110: She'll be apples...

I can't decide whether apples or lemons are the best fruit.
Lemons are so versatile - sponges, stir fries, a lemon transcends the boundaries. It's sparks and tilts the flavour of a meal, it's a garnish and a foundation flavour, and they last and last...
Apples, though, go with meats and pastries and are in the jam in jam doughnuts, and there's a gazillions varieties of them, and you can eat them fresh*... Yeah, it's apples.

While fruit is notoriously sweet, it is often also sneakily tart and in a way my adult palette has missed.  When I made apple and plum puree Bub hit an especially sour spoonful once and, I kid you not, turned her head to the side, straightened her little legs and smacked the table three times.  Although paralysed with laughter, I did have the presence of mind to retain that plums are sharp.

Once I started paying attention, I realised that Granny Smiths, too, would be quite sharp for babies so I initially chose an eating apple because they often have a mild flavour.  I love Fuji apples, so I got those in case I was too disorganised to actually make the purées.  (Or is that really organised...?)

3 medium Granny Smiths, 2 brown pears & 1 medium banana = 1 doz. heaped tbsp

Bub is a fan of apple, pear and banana purée and today I had the presence of mind to document my effort, not just in photos but in quantities.  I've tried different types this time: brown pears instead of green, Granny Smiths instead of Fujis, just to work some variety into a somewhat reliable food.

Then I used some mild Golden Delicious and added some frozen berries - a few each of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.  Two small apples and some berries do not yield very much, and now I know.  A part of me thinks I'm kidding myself with this one, flavour-wise.  Did I not just explain how babies notice sharp flavours more than adults.. and I'm using raspberries? Really?

Nevertheless, I don't want to start not making things because I'm presuming Bub's tastes.  Who's to know what her preferences are like one day to the next?  Maybe she's old enough for some tartness.  Her interest in food waxes and wanes and preferences come and go without rhythm.  So as much as I feel foolish for not being right about what she likes (coz I'm supposed to have some sort of telepathy about that, obvs) I still want to try lots of different things, rejection be damned.  

Two Golden Delicious and half doz berries = not much.
This cooking thing is beginning to feel like a metaphor for the grief of parenting - all this effort, with no possibility of gratitude, some likelihood of pleasure and every chance of rejection.  For me, knowing that Bub will refuse things she doesn't like means I have to manage my emotions about it all.  I go to a bit of effort to imagine or choose and make all these things especially for this little person, with no guarantee whatsoever that it will be liked, hoping for her best response, which is a frequently opened mouth, some impatience, maybe some kicking.  So I have to find this middle ground of being thoughtful, maybe creative, but not invested.  (These are the minutiae of mental health for some mums.)  

And yet, sometimes I can't help but get a little bit excited about new foods.  For instance, I couldn't wait for her to try the little shepherd's pies I made.  I'd really like her to enjoy beef and potato, two feature ingredients in my diet.  I even cut one in half, so I wouldn't feel too bad if she rejected it.  It took three pans to make, you see, and that's a lot of bother for me.   I even caught myself talking my heart down, "She prolly won't like it much, it is a very strong flavour, and she's got no teeth..." 
She inspected it a lot, and tried the potato... early days, early days.

So, if you haven't figured out that I overthink things, you've just been busted for scanning and not reading.   About once a week I exhaust myself and fall in a gentle heap with "You know what?  We'll just put what we're having in front of her and if she eats it she does, and if she doesn't she'll have a breastfeed. No biggie."  At some stage, that relaxation will become permanent, I hope, or Bub's eating habits will shift.  As they say, food is for fun before they are 1.  For FUN.  So I've got a little under 8 weeks to get it right.  (Good work brain, way to help.)

*Yes, I know, technically you can eat a lemon fresh, but you can also eat a book fresh, so, you know.

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