The Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Karen Ansel MS, RD & Charity Ferriera (Weldon Owen 2011) is much more complete cookbook then Tyler Florence‘s Start Fresh (see review) but shares with it a belief that babies and toddlers thrive with fresh, organic, tasty food.
Baby food that you make in your kitchen tastes better because it’s fresher. Cooking from scratch also allows you to offer baby a wider variety of ingredients, since not all foods are available as commercial baby food. (p. 6)
The first chapter, Getting Started, will helped new parents figure out how to feed her baby best. It includes plenty of guidelines for starting solid food and choosing the healthiest ingredients. There is a handy chart (pp. 10-11) that goes over ingredients and why babies need to eat them. The book goes over cooking methods, cleanliness and which foods are most important to be organic – things like strawberries, celery, and bell peppers that contain high levels of pesticides.
Just like Tyler’s book, the first chapter goes over single-ingredient purees, and the next chapter includes slightly more complex combinations like Beet and Potato Swirl (p. 42) Baby’s Guacamole (p. 50) that is flavored with cucumber and cumin, and Red Lentil & Rice Soup (p. 55) flavored with vegetable broth. There is another chart called Super Baby Foods (pp. 48-49) that lists things like “Asparagus: A top source of foliate, which is needed to build new cells and tissues.”
From 9 to 12 toddler are introduced to finger food, and finally from 12 to 18 months there is a thicker chapter on Big kid meals (p. 105) with food adults can eat as well like Zucchini fritters (p. 116) to use up all that extra garden zucchini, or Chicken & veggie pockets (p. 124) in puff pastry. There is plenty of good advice on make sure your kids are not picky eaters in this and the following chapter on called Making food fun.
This is a good book to give as a gift for parents who may not know how to cook for their baby or themselves. Both Tyler Florence’s and Ansel & Ferreira’s books go over the basics – but The Baby & Toddler Cookbook provides more foundations – while Tyler’s recipes are more interesting.