No, we’re not cooking babies, just cooking for babies! The French-invented Beaba Babycook takes a lot of the guesswork out of making your own baby food.
Conducting our in-house baby food taste test for the November 2009 issue of P&N was a real eye opener for me, as my taste buds had to confront the foods I’d been feeding my daughter. Some of the samples we tried were just plain gag-worthy, and others were delicious but rather pricey – I realized that the only way I could be sure to serve great-tasting, nutrient-rich baby food to my little one at a low price would be by taking the DIY approach. (Disclaimer:I will still be buying some pre-made baby food for convenience – don’t judge me!)
As far as I know, the Babycook is the only product out there especially made for preparing baby food. It can steam, blend, reheat and defrost all in the same bowl, so there are fewer dishes and more available counter space than if you were to combine the use of a steamer, blender and microwave. (Plus, reheating with steam is healthier than nuking by microwave anyway.)
The Babycook is a substantial, well-made product that’s also perfectly compact (which makes a lot of sense if you’ve ever seen the size of an apartment kitchen in Paris). It’s easy to use, and foods can be prepared fairly quickly. Steam cooking can take up to 15 minutes, but you don’t need to babysit the food while it’s in progress – just come back at the end of the cycle and blend for the finishing touch. Blending can be really quick if your older baby is ready for chunky food, or a few seconds longer if your little guy needs everything pureed.
I tried making applesauce in the Beaba, and although I’m no cook, it turned out well. The initial start-up takes some time; while assembly is quick and easy, the machine needs to run through three full steam cycles for hygiene purposes. When it was ready, I loaded in my peeled, diced apples and steamed them before blending them into a puree. A little sugar and cinnamon, and I had a healthy little treat. I did learn that the food didn’t amount to much when it was broken down – I’ll have to start with more fruit next time! If you’re hoping to make huge quantities so you have lots to freeze for later, it might be better to use bigger appliances, but if you’re OK with making just a couple servings at a time, this is just the right size.
I’m excited to try some of the recipes listed in the included booklet and really get my baby boy headed down the right nutritional path! Meats, fish, veggies, fruits, pasta … the Babycook handles them all.
The pieces are easy to take apart and clean – some of them can go into the dishwasher on the top rack. And we can all rest assured the system is BPA-free and baby-safe. The Babycook comes in the original spring green and the new “latte”color shown here.
To buy: lullabylane.com