Two seconds of inverted lips curved with displeasure, eyes staring at me, ready to tear, as if pleading, as if silently protesting, as if having given up her faith in me to make her world always shine bright with hugs and kisses, and having lost all hope in the humanity of a mother, she lets out the cutest waaah..waaah….waaaah…
Meanwhile, he is by his train table playing with a buddy on a playdate but immediately distracted by his beloved sister’s tears, he drops everything and runs to her, the little pitter patter of his feet only partially audible in the mostly carpeted living space. He holds her hand tightly and lovingly says, “No thy baby, no, no thy. No thy, baby” and then when baby doesn’t seem to obey, a decisive – “No. Thy. Baby”. I tell him that it was okay. That this time, she wasn’t crying because of the scary sound of the blender but because she simply didn’t like the taste of Mommy’s mushed avocados.
Baby E started solids a few weeks ago at a a little over 4.5 months of age. I know that this does not meet the approval of many mothers (including the Indian woman at the library who upon hearing me tell another mom, my Vietnamese friend, that I had started my baby on solids, jumped into the conversation uninvited by disapprovingly saying, “So early?!”) and especially grandmothers and definitely of PSAs that advocate starting solids at or after 6 months of age. I face no conflict over this decision. I started TJ on solids at 4.5 months too and I saw no reason to doing anything differently with Baby E.
For her first food, she tried pureed avocado. She wasn’t a fan of this divine fruit from the very beginning. The next time, I tried Oatmeal cereal with Baby’s Only Organic Formula and she liked that! This Oatmeal cereal-Formula mush has a mild and sweet flavor and she really enjoys eating this. A few days ago, I made her mashed peas and she seemed to like that as well. She has also tasted and liked pureed carrots.
Once she got comfortable with the taste of peas, I started mixing it in her oatmeal cereal and she ate that without complaint. As she starts enjoying the glorious tastes of foods surrounding her and her taste buds get more mature, I will start mixing two or more vegetables together. Then, gradually we’ll move to rice and daal, khichadi, dalia, quinoa, and other delights. As with TJ, I will go really, really easy on salt but will start flavoring at an appropriate age.
I can’t wait for Baby E to taste all the foods that this world has to offer. Aaron and I are foodies. Before we had kids and throughout our dating days, we loved going to different kinds of restaurants and enjoying the culinary offerings of these places. That’s one thing we really loved about living in Chicago – the food, and that is the one thing we miss in San Jose – this city has no food culture, whatsoever.
Even food delivery is extremely disappointing. The best you can do is pizza and that is no food except when you are desperate (like today was!). I really miss having pretty much every restaurant representing any culture or cuisine delivering food right to my doorstep like in Chicago.
One of the foods that I absolutely want Baby E to appreciate and enjoy is fish.
Being a Manglorean at heart, food-wise, I will always, always love fish! Here in the U.S., fish is bland, does not have the kind of fishy smell I associate with authentic fish preparations, and no restaurant, Indian or otherwise, has ever been able to come anywhere close to my grandmother’s fish curries and frys.
Those typical Konkani fish curries, richly flavored with coconut, and with a taste that sets every taste bud on fire and not just from the enviable concoction of spices, was very unique to my grandmother’s cooking. Alas! I will never be able to taste her curries anymore. She passed away earlier this year.
I also want Baby E to appreciate how the various Indian spices, in their rich and right combinations can add magic to any vegetable, lentil, or grain. (the picture above is from the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, where Aaron and I visited in 2011).
I can’t wait to see how she reacts to the dances of flavors that is Indian cooking. Thanks to their multicultural upbringing, TJ and E won’t be eating Indian food exclusively but since that is their mama’s default cooking mode and comfort food, they will get to eat a lot of it anyway. In fact, even Aaron is a pro at eating Indian food now, including pickles, and not what they call pickles in the US but actual, अचार.
All said and done, we are well on our way now. The exciting journey of solid foods is well underway. I am probably more excited than Baby E is just because she does not really understand what is going on but I can’t wait to introduce and inculcate in her, her family’s love for diverse foods. The really big event where she will experience a smorgasbord of explosive foods will be Canadian Thanksgiving that is coming up in October. Can’t wait!