Social identity is a complex thing. As I continue to dig into controversial issues as a graduate student, pseudo-theologian, white woman, I also still identify as a mother. And whether it's part of the social construction of gender, socialization or some innate womanly instinct to feed my children, I am the one in the house who gets to be in charge of the baby food. Which is fine. Anyway, this is my attempt to reconcile my seemingly disparate identities and let people know I'm not serious all the time. I put on my pants two legs at a time. Or is that one leg at a time? I didn't pay attention.
The deal with the baby food is that I made all of Son #1's at home. I was convinced (and still am) that baby food is overpriced, considering it contains pureed food and water, over-packaged and nutritionally homogeneous. The major conviction was that of simplicity and frugality, however, as evidenced by the fact that I did not use strictly organic fruits and vegetables. I bought a book that taught me how to make "super baby porridge" and so I made batches and batches of the multi-grain stuff and froze it in ice-cube trays. It was a good experience.
Now, as I have mentioned before, we have qualified for the WIC program. In this program, babies at 6 months get hundreds of cans of baby food per month and two boxes of baby cereal. Which we are grateful for. Nonetheless, the baby is not in love with this "real food" yet, and it is all my effort and trickery to get him to eat somewhere around 2 cans of baby food a day, at best. Combine that with the fact that something, perhaps the fiber-less cereal or the baby meats, seems to stop him up. When it seemed that this might be the culprit for a few sleepless nights, it was a full-out boycott on any suspicious baby food items. I switched him to the home-made millet cereal more familiar to me and generally backed off the 2 can/day quota.
So now what to do with all this baby food. Fortunately, the world wide web (can we still say that?) offers a myriad of blogs to help with such an issue. I feel I should note at this point that we will most likely donate any baby food that we cannot use after the baby stops eating it. But while there is a chance that he will eat it, we will continue to stock our shelves, but occasionally try to clear some space by re-purposing it. Soup seemed to be the obvious choice, so next time I make chili most of the ground chicken is going in there, with perhaps a few cans of squash. The fruit is the easiest to work with since it is actually delicious to grown-ups and toddlers. We even made a meat spread with the canned beef the other day and pretended we were British by adding Worcestershire sauce and sliced cucumbers. It might not be my favorite, but is certainly an emergency food option.