When people ask me about baby food, I always tell them the same thing: there's no such thing as baby food. With few exceptions, mashed-up adult food is perfect for babies. It's nutritious, fun, and easy, and you don't have to prepare separate meals.
Sometimes I go on and on as if I invented this idea. Then something will come along to remind me that I'm about as original as a financial planner telling clients not to spend so much on lattes. This time around, it was Amelia Bedelia.
The book series Amelia Bedelia, for anyone who hasn't been introduced, is for early readers and authored by Peggy Parish. The first was published in 1963. They have not aged entirely well, given the running joke that Amelia is a domestic worker who misinterprets simple instructions from her employers. (Pitch the tent, dress the chicken, and so on.) Ha, ha. In Amelia Bedelia and the Baby, however, Amelia has it right and her boss, wrong. Assigned to care for baby Missy, Amelia makes dinner, with the following to say on baby food.
"The list says I should give you some baby food." Amelia Bedelia picked up Missy. They went to the kitchen. Amelia Bedelia put Missy in her chair.
"Now," she said, "I'll make your supper." Amelia Bedelia scurried around. She made baby hamburgers. She cooked baby potatoes. She sliced baby tomatoes. "That is a good supper," said Amelia Bedelia.
Missy eats the baby food, with ketchup, and has a strawberry tart for dessert. Then mom and dad come home.
"Catsup! Strawberries!" said Mrs. Lane. "She can't eat things like that."
"Oh, yes she can," said Amelia Bedelia. "She loves them."
The next time someone asks me about baby food, instead of launching into a spiel, I'm just going to hand them this book.
About the author: Matthew Amster-Burton lives in Seattle. His work appears frequently in the Seattle Times and Seattle magazine. He also maintains the blog Roots and Grubs. His favorite food is pad Thai.