I held the spoon to my mouth, and I grimaced when the contents touched my tongue — warm, mushy carrots. 

This was my 7-month-old son's dinner — and mine too. I would spend a week eating baby food, although it was less of a calculated effort and more of a desperate attempt to hang onto my sanity.

As a new mother who worked from home, I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to juggle both a job and an infant, often getting crapped on from everyone, everywhere. The laundry piled up to unbelievable heights. The dishes in the sink smelled like a homeland security threat. For myself, I did the bare minimum to erase the stink lines that followed me around like Pigpen in a Peanuts comic.

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Something had to give, I realized. And that something was chewing.

I'm kidding. Chewing wasn't so much the issue. The problem was the time it took to make myself a separate meal. When the choice came down to cooking for my son and cooking for myself, it was an easy decision. He who sobs the loudest wins.

This sort of thing wasn't new for me, per se. I've done some crazy diets in the past. In college, I was the originator of the Beef Jerky Diet, which sprained my jaw before I ever lost any weight. (No wonder my diet never caught on.) I've been a raw foodist and I've tried juices. I've scrubbed my guts with gallons of cabbage soup and master cleansed with liters of lemonade. One time I ate nothing but raw macadamia nuts for three days. 

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When my son began eating solid foods, I decided to make all his meals from scratch. I'm a person who enjoys cooking anyway, and it was important to me to provide him with fresh, healthy produce. 

When I thought about it, eating baby food wasn't a bad idea idea. After all, many of the world's most beloved foods are enjoyed in their squished form. Guacamole is perfection. Applesauce is awesome. Hummus is great. And who doesn't love mashed potatoes?

Plus, I've been enough to fancy restaurants where entrees are served atop puddles of parsnip mash or dollops of spring pea purée. This wasn't mere baby food I was creating — it was cutting-edge cuisine!

At first, the purées I ate were terrific, like downing super thick smoothies for every meal. And it really did save a lot of time, which otherwise would have been spent over the stove or cleaning the dishes. The bonus was that it forced me to be more creative with the things I whipped up in the blender, because I wanted to consume delicious things too. Snap peas, pears and a banana? Tasty. Sweet potatoes, cherries and vanilla? Like a party in my mouth. Fava beans and summer squash with leeks? Eh, not the worst.

After a week of baby food; however, eating became something laborious. It was no longer interesting or enjoyable. I fantasized about crunch. Chewing felt like an old friend I only vaguely remembered. I realized I was on the diet of someone who just had his wisdom teeth pulled, but for no real reason.

That's the day I decided to reverse the process: Instead of eating what my baby eats, I would simply give him what I like to eat.

It's a strategy that has worked well for us ever since, with a food repertoire that has expanded to include soft grilled eggplant, five-bean chili, rice pudding, roasted veggies of all kinds, aloo gobi and pillows of naan.

We didn't want to be those culinary snobs who go to a restaurant and just order the parsnip purée, anyway.


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