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Meade uses fennel and apple in her homemade baby food. Courtesy photo.




Wholesome Baby Food

When: Sunday, March 6, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Where: The Culinary Playground, 16 Manning St., Suite 105, Derry
Tickets: $45
Visit: culinary-playground.com




Wholesome at home
Cookbook author shares baby food recipes

03/03/16
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 When it came time for Derry resident Maggie Meade to start feeding her twin boys solid food, she wasn’t impressed with the choices on store shelves.

“I went to the grocery store and looking at the jars ... it was just gross to look at,” she said in a phone interview. 
Her family already maintained a wholesome and largely non-processed food lifestyle, so she decided to look into making her own baby food. Some of the recipes she found were as simple as “boil peas and put them in a blender.”
“I looked online and thought, ‘I could do this,’” she said.
She started a website in 2003 to share her recipes with other parents, and by 2011 the site was getting five million visitors a month. Her cookbook, The Wholesome Baby Food Guide, came out in 2012, and now Meade is leading her first culinary class on Sunday, March 6, at the Culinary Playground.
“I think that now is a good time — there seems to be a rise again of interest in healthy eating for children, for babies,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of time to step away from the book and the website, and to come back into it is really a wonderful thing for me. Just having a class where everyone [experiences] hands-on … how easy it is in a kitchen-type setting is going to be fabulous.” 
The class, which welcomes babies in strollers, in seats or on their parent’s lap, will be part demonstration, part hands-on, focusing on favorite baby food recipes featuring sweet potatoes, apples and butternut squash. 
“I’m going to do two no-bake or no-cook baby foods, because a lot of time you don’t really have to even cook for your baby,” Meade said, noting that some recipes are as simple as mashing up a banana and an avocado. 
For parents who are accustomed to buying baby food in the store, some recipe ingredients may come as a surprise, like herbs and spices.
“I think it’s because when you say the word ‘spice’ [you] think of something that’s hot,” she said. 
Instead of opting for a bland rice cereal or other simple mash associated with packaged baby food, Meade said it’s good to use some of the ingredients you cook with at home because it’s preparing your baby for the food they will eventually eat.
She’ll also go over the best foods for babies at different ages and stages and talk about the needed tools and equipment, which is mostly common kitchenware like pots, pans, cutting boards, a potato masher and some form of blender.
One questions that Meade often fields is whether it is actually feasible for a busy parent to make her own baby food. Her answer is “absolutely.”
“We have been so inundated with the message that Gerber knows how to feed your baby. ... It kind of takes away your confidence in being able to feed your baby, that a lot of parents don’t believe that they not only have the time, but can actually do it and not make their baby sick,” she said. 
At the store, it’s as simple as adding an extra apple or piece of chicken to your grocery cart or roasting one extra sweet potato at dinner to either mash or set aside. 
“You may have the time to blend it at night or not,” she said. “You can put it in the fridge and go back to it when you have the time.”





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