Philly Food Memory


As I mentioned yesterday, I’m on a work trip until Wednesday night so I won’t be cooking for my babe until Thursday. (Our next dish will be Minty Peas — more to come!). While I can’t cook for him right this moment, I can reminisce¬† about one of my favorite memories of Mason and food.

We want our babe to love food as much as we do, so my hubby and I have been taking him to restaurants since he was just a few weeks old. We live in New York but love Philly so we took a day trip there last November during my maternity leave. At that point, Mason was close to three months old and we decided to visit Jones restaurant, recommended by Joy Manning, a friendly acquaintance, Philly resident, and author of Almost Meatless.

Mason loved the place. It’s cool and retro. There are lots of artful light fixtures everywhere. The waiters are bouncy and engaged. The patrons are friendly and adoring of smiling babies. And the food is delish. We went early, around 4:30, to avoid the dinner rush — we’re sympathetic that restaurant patrons don’t want to deal with a screaming baby. Mason doesn’t scream a lot but when he does he screams. Luckily he was a gem the entire time.

But all of this is all background, an FYI. The point of this post is my favorite memory, and it goes like this.

Mason was sitting on my lap when the waiter dropped off our dishes. My dish was succulent roast chicken and mashed potatoes cooked in pan juices. Chris and I had been coaxing Mason to smile for the camera just before our food arrived, and my hubby finally captured a smiley Mason (above) just as the waiter set my dish in front of me. Seconds later, a delighted Mason dipped his hand in my mashed potatoes, smeared them across the table, and laughed hysterically. We like to say that the adorable smile in the photo is Mason plotting his move. I smile every time I see his delight in that photo, and I can’t wait to return to Jones. Will we be able to recreate the same kind of moment? I hope so. It was magic. Once just wasn’t enough for me.

What’s your fave food moment with your baby?

Chicken 'n' Sweet Potatoes


Chicken and Sweet Potato Puree

Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

At Mason’s six-month check-up on Tuesday, our pediatrician said to start experimenting with new textures and flavors. I was thrilled. No more boring one-veggie/fruit purees — this would be the beginning of savory veggie-meat blends, sweet fruity mixes, and so much more!

That night after work, I whipped up a batch of sweet potatoes combined with chicken. I decided to give Mason his first taste of the stuff for lunch today — hoping it would be better than our recent avocado-banana fiasco.

As it turned out, I was in luck. Mason loved this classic combo.

On the advice of my mommy friend Karyn, I poached the organic chicken to retain moisture then pureed it. Poached chicken that’s been pureed looks, well, disgusting. And it’s bland, which is why I mixed it with one of Mason’s faves, sweet potatoes, keeping the texture pretty smooth (like you would see from Level 2 commercial baby food), and it actually looked yummy. I tasted it — I’ve vowed never to make Mason eat something that I wouldn’t — and it was surprisingly tasty. Good enough that if I ever found myself home alone with no desire to eat takeout and nothing in the fridge, I would microwave some for dinner. Seriously.

I buckled Mason into his Joovy high chair (I mention the brand because we love it — the whole thing can go in the dishwasher!!), fastened his plastic bib (the Best Invention Ever for babies eating solids), and fed Mason his first bite. The portrait of him smiling above is what I got. My heart melted. He made my day, and maybe I even made his with this deliciousness.
Ingredients:

Organic chicken
Organic sweet potato

Directions:

1. Trim fat from 1 package organic chicken breast.*
2. Poach chicken for about 30 minutes.
3. Rinse chicken in cool water, slice, and puree.
4. Peel, dice, and cook three sweet potatoes under tender.* Rinse with cold water.
5. Puree sweet potatoes with chicken. Blend until smooth.
6. Divide into 2-ounce portions. Cool. Refrigerate two portions, freeze the rest.

Appropriate for 6 months and up

*I’m a working mama, so I always make extras and freeze.

C’mon mamas and daddies, what’s your latest baby food victory?