Book Review and Giveaway: Super Baby Food

One of the first natural baby food cookbooks to hit the mainstream, Super Baby Food, is still enjoying relative fame.  I was thrilled to find the first edition in its purple cover in a pile of garage sale books and happily paid a quarter to make it mine.

Super Baby FoodI eagerly rushed home and began reading, but found myself disappointed.  The book is loosely organized, full of anecdotes and often difficult to follow.  Although it’s over 500 pages long, there are really only about thirty critically important pages of information to read.

To be fair, I do love those thirty pages. Ruth Yaron challenges our ideas of traditional baby food by offering up other ingredients for home-blended meals.  She explains how to whirl up vegetables and fruits in your blender and then dump it into ice cube trays to freeze and store.  As baby gets older, she has tips for including egg yolk, beans, kale, and a variety of other healthy foods into a “super porridge” that can be inexpensively prepared.

Yager also has some fun recipes for toddler foods including tofu McNuggets, nutty millet pancakes and peanut butter pudding.   The creativity in food presentation and delivery are pretty remarkable as well.  For example, she recommends spreading a slice of bread with peanut butter and then wrapping it around a whole banana as a creative vegan hot dog.

It’s also fascinating that Yager’s children have been quite healthy based on their rich diet of whole grains, greens, and hearty proteins.  She insists that while most children are sick between six to twelve times a year, her family faces illness once or twice at most.

As a working mom with limited time, I found the book to be heavily layered with irrelevant details and tough to weed through. For example, in the middle of the arts and crafts section she goes into great detail about using zip lock bags, adult sized socks and duct tape to avoid purchasing snow boots.  On the same page she gives directions for shining patent leather shoes with petroleum jelly. I’m not sure either of those things even needs to be in a baby food book.  To be fair, I haven’t read the second edition which may have edited some of the cumbersome tidbits out.

Is it worth buying?  If you’re interested in making your own baby food for economic, health and environmental reasons it’s a good resource, but I would recommend checking it out from the library or picking it up secondhand.  I’ll be sending my copy out to a lucky reader who will be able to read the book for herself and develop her own opinion.  Simply comment by February 12th to be entered in our giveaway!

Have you read Super Baby Food?  Did you find it be a valuable resource?  Do you make your own food at home?

Comments

  1. I’m curious, does she talk about what needs to be included in a baby’s (then toddler’s) diet and also what should not be included? Perhaps that is the 30 pages you liked? I think I can come up with my own recipes, but I need to have some guidelines to follow in terms of what’s in, what’s out, and how much.

    That said, I’ll take my chances and enter the drawing. I’m definitely making my own baby food. I love to cook, so I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

  2. By and large I am disappointed with baby food books. I find that most are set up like food-magazines with lots of pretty plated dishes accompanied by complicated recipes that are quite impractical to recreate night after night.

    I fell into fresh at-home baby food making. I had no formal “plan” to DIY every meal, but it was so easy and the benefits were so obvious that it just became part of our parenting. Baby has never had a jar of baby food, ever.

    I work full-time and our family is a busy one, but putting the highest quality food possible on the table (or high chair tray) is a priority for me. It takes minimal extra effort to achieve beautiful results and I am convinced that one of the reasons why my daughter is so rarely sick is due in some part to her nutrient-rich fresh-food diet. I’m an advocate for fresh, interesting foods for baby (tofu, quinoa and natto are frequently rotated into mealtime) and I blog about making easy, nutritious, organic foods on my blog http://citybaby.posterous.com.

  3. My friend uses this book and loves it! The super porridge is supposed to be great for the little ones!

  4. Agreed. This book was great for a how to, but too large and cumbersome to make it through the whole thing. I usually reference it and recommend it to others though because it is so thorough in the basics. I also recommend other books if you are looking for something a little less intense. I really like the section that spelled out a list of what to feed at what age as you were introducing first foods.

  5. Hmm. Never read it but would be interested.

  6. I would love to give this a try. With BPA in everything now it seems like homemade is the only way.

  7. My husband and I eat a large portion of our diet from organic and/or local sources because we feel these foods are better for the environment, the economy, and our health. We’re expecting #1 in April and I want her to eat the same foods so I’ve been looking into sources on making baby food. I’d love to get this book but other recommendations would be great 🙂

  8. I was recommended this book by my sister and I’m still patiently waiting my turn at the library! I have heard great reviews of the simple recipes and nutritional facts behind the ingredients used in this book. I would love to read it for myself someday. Thanks for offering this generous giveaway!

  9. I’ve been using “The Healthy Baby Meal Planner” by Annabel Karmel as a guide for making baby food. So far so good. I picked mine up for $1 at a used book sale at my CSA farm. I would love to check this book out too!

  10. We had to buy jarred babyfood recently while on vacation – YUCK. Really yuck. I found everything I needed to make my own baby food through a simple Google search, no need to buy a book! I have heard good things about this book and it has probably influenced a lot of parents to make their own baby food which is wonderful.

  11. I have the top 100 baby purees, and like it. i’m interested to see what goodies are in the super food book.

  12. I am currently borrowing my neighbor’s copy and love it! Great way to get my little man to eat intersting foods that he loves….

  13. Melissa Timm says

    I have used my copy as a resource. I still use it to remind me about the times for cooking dried beans. I’d say great to use as a resource, but a tough read. Made all my babyfood for both girls.

  14. My little one is not ready for solid food yet, but I plan on making our own once she is. This sounds like it would be a great resource!

  15. Our little guy will be starting foods in the next couple of months and would love to have another resource available to help us make the best choices to get him off to a great start!

  16. it still sounds interesting. my first babe had health issue and barely ate any “baby food”…she just nursed mostly until she was ready for table foods, which i’m reading is good practice, too.

    my newest little one is 3 months, and i envision him being a more robust eater. could be a helpful resource:)

  17. I would love this book! I am very interested in making my own baby food.

  18. Good job Thank you for information, I’m looking for it

  19. This would be great! We make some of our own now, but I’d love to introduce more variety into his diet

  20. I think this book is a good resource. Often long-winded yes. I appreciated the information on different ways to prepare whole grains and legumes for baby, and also the produce pages describing various ways (microwave/steam/etc.) to prepare vegetables/fruit for baby. Some of the craft stuff at the end looks useful, but I’m not that crafty and don’t have much time for it. I also have Baby Bites, and like that too. Although, to be honest, it seems like maybe order and timing doesn’t matter all that much anyway. This time around (with baby #2), I’m hoping to feed her just more of what we’re eating (pureed at times) and let her self-feed as much as possible. But I still refer to my 2 books (the one above and Baby Bites, by a nutritionist, I think).

  21. A friend lent me a copy of “Mommy Made and Daddy Too!: Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby & Toddler”. I haven’t tried the recipes (still 8.5 weeks ’til baby makes her big debut) but the information seems good. It’s a nice balance of information – enough to get you through without overloading you. I personally would have liked more information but I’m the kind of person who loves books with footnotes, appendices, and long references sections.

    Anyway, just thought I’d throw it out there if anyone is looking for a book on the subject.

  22. I loved this book! I didn’t use everything she said, but I found the information very useful as well as an idea of what foods to introduce when. I also really liked the toddler section. I did discover that my baby girl could not tolerate nutritional yeast at all, but the book has lots of suggestions for adding different things in to their food to make it as healthy as you can! If you don’t win, get it from the library. 😉

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