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malika

Baby's first food in Spain

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I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily.

So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in Spain?

(I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, France, Japan, India, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)


Edited by malika (log)

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I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily.

there is a reason they start with rice cereal-- do you remember how horible coffee and wine tasted when you were a kid? Strong flavors are a bit much. I'm not spanish, but right now my 10 month old is eating jamon, salmorejo (gaspacho) and asparragos, among other things. But she did start with rice cereal and bannas.

I was a white-food person until I was a teen, and now I eat everything. people change, dont worry.


"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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Our kids were started off on purees at about six months. These were made from fresh vegetables: courgette, green beans, carrot, potato, onion, garlic (and after a 12 months, broccoli), pulses: beans, lentils, chickpeas; with either chicken breast, fillet steak, or white fish, and, of course, a dash of extra-virgin olive oil.

I've noticed that kids here eat more widely than in the UK, mine are no exception and they happily eat things like olives, fish, greens, and tomatoes.

On the basis of my own anecdotal evidence, I'd say that early exposure to a variety of foodstuffs does give children a more adventurous palate.

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I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette.

That might require some painting lessons. OTOH, a good palate is developed in Spain by feeding the baby a number of home-made purées based on fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, plus some chicken, some ham and, as Zoticus rightly points out, the necessary dash of good olive oil (at that tender age, extra virgin may not be a priority, but it'll be a nice touch no doubt.)


Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Both Zoticus and Victor are right on the mark in my book. That's how my wife and I started off our daughters when they moved to solids. I think the "homemade" aspect, as Victor mentioned, is very important. It requires extra time and a little more planning ahead, but you can make a batch for about three days. Normally we would rotate...three days of say: fish, then chicken, then beef (tender veal). Or you can always ask your butcher for the best cut for your purposes. If I'm not mistaken, the meat around the cheek-bone is considered the tenderest.

More patience should be required with the fruit puree, since the acidic taste can often turn them off at first.

Good luck and watch out for the pedorretas!


Brian Murdock

Madrid, Spain

Teacher/writer

www.murdockmedia.com

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I'm the mother of an almost-six-month-old, and I'm thinking a lot about how to raise a daughter with a good palette. Rice cereal (the traditional first food in America) doesn't seem like a good start-- I certainly wouldn't eat it very happily.

So I'm wondering about other countries and other traditions-- What's the traditional first food for babies in Spain?

(I'm also going to post this in the following forums: Italy, France, Japan, India, China, Middle East, and Mexico. Apologies to those who run across this question in other places!)

Here's what I posted in France:

I can't hardly accurately remember that far back in time when our daughter was a new born. Today she is a culinary professional having staged in one of NY's best restaurants, gone on to head up a pastry kitchen at another, wrote a few articles on food and finally moved to publishing where she edits cookbooks. She does have one of the best palates of anyone I know in, or outside, the professional culinary world. I mean to imply that she has both good taste and the ability to discern the various flavor components in a dish or tastes in a glass of wine. We followed our pediatrician's advice which was cereal after mother's milk was not enough to hold her between feedings and until she was old enough to eat from our table. It started, of course, with pureed versions of the vegetables and then meat we were having and went on to small bites of the same, starting with the softer foods she could gum even before she had much in the way of teeth. She was breast fed longer than most kids of her generation, although perhaps not long enough to be considered ideal. My wife also had an infection early on that required antibiotics. That meant moving from breast milk while she was taking antibiotics. It was evidently too early for cow's milk as our daughter turned bright red/orange with white spots at the first taste of it. Our solution was a short period of soy formula. Less than ideal, but at least not an allergen. Fortunately my wife pumped away and could return to breast feeding. We avoided as much in the way of unnatural additives in our food at the time anyway and became increasing conscious of avoiding artificial stuff.

Today she is also the mother of a fine son. She continued to breast feed well after her maternity leave was up, although it was a chore. She's also more conscious of additives and far more inclined to pay for organic food where her son is concerned. She's also far more into whole grains than I was, or am. In general, she followed our pattern of introducing the foods she and her chef husband ate, although she more consciously considered nutrition as well as taste. She also had a good chart suggesting the age at which certain foods should be introduced into an infant's diet to reduce the possibility of allergic reaction. This, in turn influenced the family meals. By no means should it be implied that our grandson was fed less than gastronomic baby food. At an early age his beans were pureed with extra virgin olive oil and bacon or pancetta.

His other grandparents are French, and at two and a half months shy of his third birthday, he just returned from his second trip to France where his major complaint was the absence of squid on menus. Not until he ate at an upscale restaurant in Paris did he find octopus, which is an acceptable substitute for him. It was in a rather spicy sauce, but met with his approval. Breton Andouille, is another of his favorite foods.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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