We have been making Gioia's baby food from scratch since we brought her home in February. Which means we have made a whole lot of trips to the grocery store looking for things to grind up in the Cuisinart. I don't think I have ever bought as many vegetables in my whole life as I have in the last six months. Of course, that statement doesn't count the summer we belonged to our Chicago-area CSA and had a bunch of excellent goodies delivered once a week. But for that, I basically just wrote a big fat check in the fall and boxes stuffed with greens and vegetables arrived the following summer. So while I bought a lot of veggies then, it really wasn't *intentional* veggie buying like we do now.
The problem is, though, that there is not really a big variety of veggies to be bought round these parts. Gioia has been living on weekly staples of winter squash (in tropical Taiwan, yes), sweet potato, lotus seed, broccoli, cauliflower, edamame, tofu, beans, and peas.* The carrots here frighten me with their scary florescent orange color, so I haven't made more than one batch of those. Carrots also have a high concentration of nitrates, so probably best to avoid homemade versions anyway. Spinach is also not safe for little bitty kiddos, which has made me wary of all kinds of greens. Chinese people eat a lot of greens, so that rules out half the supermarket.
There is not much else to be had. I am sure she is sick of the same old vegetables day in and day out. I am. Where is the summer squash, the zucchini? I did find sweet corn a few weeks ago, but that was after months of hunting.
So three weeks ago I broke down and ordered a bunch of seeds on the internet. Lo and behold, they actually made it through this little island's customs department (even though the package was clearly labeled SEEDS). When I was in Chicago last week, I bought 72 little seed starting pellets, the kind that expand with water.
It is quite late in the year to be starting seeds. But there are two reasons why I am going to try. First, Taiwan is pretty temperate. Even in the winter it is still above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Second, I am really, really bored of the blah blah blah I keep dropping in the grocery cart every week. Even if I try and fail, well, I will have tried. And perhaps I will learn something for next spring's round.
*Lest you think we are negligent, she eats other foods too, like yogurt, chicken, whole wheat noodles, fruit (apples, bananas, mangoes, pineapples) and Cheerios. Of course there also is the super baby cereal (with dried beans) from this book, which we mix with egg yolks every other day.