So here’s the thing, it is almost six months since I gave birth to my daughter and it is glaringly obvious that she is ready to be weaned. ‘Glaring’ being the operative word because that is precisely what she is doing. I eat cake, a morsel of chocolate and am treated to a salivating drooling baby, wide-eyed with wonder whose interest is peaked beyond plain curiosity. She stares at me whilst I eat as though I have just deprived her of her favourite toy. ‘Ravenous’ springs to mind, even after consuming a litre of milk.
Thus in preparation for the first meal I consulted Google and having prepped myself with the appropriate literature, decided after little deliberation that my daughters diet would ostensibly, be healthier than my own. Cakes, pastries, crisps and the like will be off the menu for a good few years. Fruit, nuts (well not yet obviously) grains, vegetables and so on will be premium choice in order to coax and nudge her into the healthy baby/toddler I envisage. Well that was the plan and in order to co-ordinate said plan I read a few helpful parent-manuals and glossily photographed blogs before embarking on my menu.
One blog stood out with lots of recipes, advice and information regarding the virtues of homemade baby food. ‘Avoid shop bought’ where possible warned a particularly floaty looking eco-warrior type mother, whose hippy persona was sealed with the wood hut photograph dreadlocked hair and opened toed sandals she displayed in her photographs. She caught my attention from the off, I am not overly floaty myself I don’t live in the countryside, keep chickens, breed cattle and bake my own bread much as I sometimes dream of doing so, subconsciously spurred on no doubt by the happy couples on ‘escape to the country’ who wander hand in hand between thatched cottages to ‘outhouse’ conservatories in search of their dream home.
This or the fresh faced slightly ruddy looking presenters on country file…. all those fluffy fields and acres of pasture, cattle chewing the cud lazily grazing in the filtered sunshine, farmers with scuffed boots and straw hats bidding you good morning one eye squinted towards the sun lifting their hats in welcome, (too Thomas Hardy? Larkrise to Candleford?) I would have no problem with the early morning milking me and baby never lie in, 5am is the current alarm call from little one.
It doesn’t matter that I have poor agricultural skills and don’t have a clue about farming I would be happy just to be there, not necessarily hugging trees but being at one with nature. I am sure the air is cleaner the lifestyle less Pacey, and being a damsel in distress surely eventually some ‘beefy’ Heathcliff brooding farmer type who lives in a cut off cottage at the top of the hill, harbouring a tragic past that makes him mysteriously distant and unattainable but highly attractive to all the women in the village, will eventually cross my path.
I imagine him broad shouldered, check shirted (frequently unbuttoned to reveal a six pack that has evolved from years chopping wood and hauling bales of hay) he drives a four by four and has a fiercely loyal and obedient sheep dog (who for some reason I imagine to be called skip) a man who will at some point no doubt offer to trim my hedge (if you’ll pardon the pun). I digress………………
Having decided it is both more economical and infinitely healthier to prepare my own baby rice I stocked up. Long grain brown rice was a disaster bitty and tough even after milling in the food processor. I consulted the internet… ‘Ahh’ rice should be short grain a homely mother donning an apron with small baby attached to her hip, advised on some YouTube clip about baby food.
As little one will be consuming this for a while I took advantage of the free delivery on amazon and ordered six kilos, confident I would be making and storing batches of it. I then filled the food processor with rice and started to mill, and mill and mill….. Until the motor began to grunt in protest and my brow broke out in a sweat.
As per instructions I then stirred it in hot water and horror of horrors watched as the mixture turned not to the sloppy puree of Mrs blogs pictures but – cement. I tried again cooked it down and poured it onto a plate it was still bitty and tough so much so even a hamster would have trouble chewing it.
Gooey and gluey my baby rice failed to evolve into the perfect puree I envisioned instead, it was the texture of wall paper paste and could easily be passed off as such at B&Q. So it is back to the drawing board (or a packet of the dreaded shop bought), as I really don’t think my baby can wait for the industrial sized food processor I will obviously need to attain a texture that will avoid her spitting it out at the first mouthful.
NB: Little one has since tried the dreaded shop bought rice and is thriving, definitely preferable to the non-gourmet unappetizing rice I had on offer.