When it comes to parenting, I like to think my recipe is a heap of woo-woo with a healthy dash of pragmatism. I co-slept for the first few months and breastfeed and babywear on the regular. My baby’s room is adorned with rose quartz crystals, and I can recite her star chart by heart.
So when it came time to introduce solids (Yay! Food! My boobs get a break!), I was torn between those little glass jars of baby food (an obvious and easy solution) and having to make food myself—adding yet another to-do to my never-ending list of items.
Quick note: I am not knocking store-bought baby food. There are some great options available, and I think feeding your baby with love—while you talk to them and giggle with them—is the most vital ingredient in any meal.
I read a few blog posts on how to “easily” create your own baby food, and they went something like this: Clean food. Chop food. Measure food. Measure water. Throw food into a steamer or double boiler. Steam on stove. Transfer to a food processor. Purée. Next, store in little jars. Next, freeze the excess—or throw it out the window because I’m literally already overwhelmed.
As a solidly mediocre cook, I quickly realized that if I was going to do this, I needed a gadget. So after some Googling, I came across the Beaba Babycook Solo—an item that already has glowing reviews from mommy bloggers. And it’s easily the best purchase I’ve made since becoming a parent.
The design of the baby-food maker is sleek—it comes in several colors (we opted for the navy blue)—and it takes up almost no space on our tiny NYC countertop. But the real highlight is how easy it is to use. All you do is chop up whatever food you’re using and drop it into the basket, add water to the reservoir, then press a button. Voilá. No need to watch the stove, set a timer, or wonder if you added the right amount of water. After 15 to 20 minutes (depending on what you’re cooking), the Babycook beeps and your food is steamed.
The excess water from steaming collects in the mixing container in which the steaming basket sits. If you’re saving that water (as I often do), you just dump the steamed food directly into the mixing container with the water. Close the lid, then turn the only knob on the machine to purée. It’s that simple.
With the food-prep handled, I actually have time to devote brainpower to a more interesting task: Coming up with creative and delicious recipes for our baby. We’ve combined beets and blueberries; butternut squash, yellow squash, corn, and oregano; apples, pears, and cinnamon; quinoa, sweet potatoes, and basil—the list goes on. We’ve also steamed chicken, and the Babycook is designed to handle any raw meat and fish as well. (If you’re looking for more recipes, Beaba offers a bunch here, and I’ve also found some good ideas here.) Plus, the food looks and tastes like food. I was under the impression that baby food would be an unappetizing beige mush—but what we’ve made has been colorful and filled with various textures, and, yes, I’ve definitely eaten it.
This baby-food maker isn’t cheap—it’s $150 for the Solo—but we ran some numbers, and for us it pretty quickly paid for itself, especially compared to the cost of buying baby food in jars. And there’s a less tangible cost we’ve avoided: It’s made my life easier and allowed me to spend less time cooking or worrying about what to cook, which might as well be priceless.
The only other minor drawback is that if you’re hoping to cook rice, quinoa, or any other tiny grain, you need to separately buy a rice-basket insert without slits. It’s about $7, and while that won’t break the bank, I wish it was just bundled with the initial purchase. On the upside, another thing I love about the Beaba is that it’s easy to purchase spare parts—for just about every breakable or easily lost piece, you’re just a click away from replacing it.
It’s been hard enough raising our “coronial” baby—yes, she was born at the start of the pandemic—while in various stages of quarantine, but having the Beaba Babycook Solo has made one aspect less stressful, and even a little bit fun.
Beaba Babycook Solo Baby Food Maker
Originally Appeared on SELF