It is hard to argue with Tyler Florence when he is on the subject of baby foods, and why would you? Start Fresh: Your Child’s Jump Start to Lifelong Healthy Eating (Rodale 2011) features Tyler (in profile) on the cover with his daughter (who is the focus of the picture) sitting on the counter, wearing fairy wings and pigtails feeding him a spoonful from her little bowl. That’s the way it should be: parents preparing and sharing good food with their children.
Tyler launched Sprout, a line of organic baby food – he knows what baby food. His aim was to market good tasting (even to adults) baby food:
After a little coaxing, and seeing their babies licking the spoon clean, a few brave souls actually tasted it and all said, “Wow, I had no idea baby food could taste this good.” (We also saw a few executives from the old-guard baby food companies try a few samples and walk away hastily banging on their PDAs. Now that’s an e-mail I would love to read.) (p. xiv)
Start Fresh is not an exhaustive book – it is really for parents who already have an idea of what they want to feed their baby and need a little helping hand with interesting recipes that will encourage baby not to be a picky eater.
It starts with Single-Ingredient Purees, and then a chapter on Flavor Combos (6-8 months) followed by Foods with Texture (9-12 months) and Everyone to the Table (12 months and beyond). The introduction goes of methods of cooking – steaming, roasting, and pureeing, There is a handy two page calendar for writing when new foods are introduced to make sure not to trigger allergies.
The foods with texture include recipes like Roasted Golden Beets with Quinoa and Feta (p. 60). There is a pretty photo by John Lee of a bowl of with a child’s green spoon. The creamy feta will hold the tiny grains of quinoa together so that not all of it ends up on the floor. Tyler introduces big flavors like Ginger Chicken with Coconut (p. 69) that includes fresh ginger, cilantro, and lime. There is also NY Strip with Asian Vegetables (p. 81) a kind of beef and vegetable stir-fry that parents can enjoy, too.
The last chapter showcase even more parent-friendly recipes like Minestrone (p. 107) and Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting (p. 125).
Tyler’s message: keep playing with your food!