When I was a baby, I briefly turned orange.
My parents took me to the doctor, who quickly figured out that I was pretty much only eating orange food like carrots and sweet potatoes – hence my weird hue. It was the beginning of 30+ years of fussy eating habits.
For most of my life I avoided most vegetables, strong flavours and fish. For a while my favourite food was macaroni with ketchup, which as I grew older and more sophisticated, became plain spaghetti with melted mozzarella. I ate the same sandwich every day for a year when I was 11 – ham and American cheese on a potato roll – but I refused to touch the ham, instead picking it up with the plastic American cheese wrapper. I became obsessed with ramen, but would only eat it dry with all the broth drained out. I put American cheese on that too.
I expanded my tastebuds in my 20s and continue to love to try new foods, but I’m still a royal pain in the ar*e when it comes to eating. The things that I don’t eat include: all meats, shellfish, tomatoes, mushrooms, bananas and melon. I tolerate onions, but just barely.
All of this brings me to weaning.
I didn’t want the Popple to be a fussy eater like me, so I wanted to try baby-led weaning, where the baby feeds themself so they can explore different flavours and textures. We started out slow. I offered her a steamed carrot baton. She licked it, made a face, and put it down. Then she went back for it. Licked it. Made a face. Licked it again. She was pretty skeptical about this whole food thing, but within a few days, she was hooked. This skinny little baby can EAT.
I’ve learned not to insult her with bland flavours. Her favourite foods so far include hummus, curry, guacamole and baba ganoush. She stuffs everything into her mouth by the fistful, and most of it ends up on her face or the floor. It’s pretty disgusting, but there’s something wonderful about watching her run her fingers through a tray of saag paneer. I’m creating a little foodie who I hope will one day share my love of artisanal cheeses, freshly-baked bread and spicy sauces.
Buen provecho, beba.