Friday, June 18, 2010

Comfort food

Sophie is officially over fruit and veggie purees. Oh, she'll have them for breakfast when I mix in her multi-grain cereal (oats, spelt, and barley), but for a while now, apart from breakfast, she'll purse her lips, close her eyes, and resolutely turn her head away if I even venture to spoon some in her mouth.

And so I now find myself making almost grown-up meals for her as we start transitioning to table foods. The baby recipe books I have recommend baby-friendly casseroles like chicken with mixed veggies, and lentil stew, which I tried and Sophie took to them just fine. But as all Asian mothers know, the best baby food is rice porridge (jook), and Sophie loves it more than any other food we've given her, even her puffs. I've wondered why American moms don't make rice porridge for their babies as often- maybe because it's hard to make in large batches, doesn't keep long, and can't be conveniently frozen. And you can't just throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot and let it cook- well, at least I can't since I don't have a crock pot. To get the smooth consistency that Sophie likes, I have to constantly stir and mash the porridge and veggies as it simmers away and that can be painstaking for some.

But watching Sophie clean her bowl after every meal is worth the chopping, poaching, steaming, and stirring. It doesn't take me that long any more now that I've pretty much gotten it down to a science:

Basic porridge:
1/3 cups of white and brown rice (mixed)
6 2/3 cups of water (basically a 1:8 ratio of rice to water)

And to that, I add a variety of different finely diced veggies and protein. Sophie's favorites:
- butternut squash, peas, and chicken (chicken tenderloins cut into small pieces, poached with the simmering porridge, then chopped finely)
- carrot, potato, and salmon (steamed beforehand, flaked to remove any bones, then added to the cooked porridge),
- sweet potato, broccoli, and whitefish (same as salmon).

Knowing that she loves something that as an adult, I still adore, warms the cockles of my heart. Nothing heals, comforts, soothes, and satisfies quite like a bowl of flavorful, nourishing jook and I'm so glad that Sophie shares that love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

most rice-cookers come with a "congee" option so you can dump everything in there and press "congee". I have a basic Phillips one which I bought for nothing in Singapore which does it beautifully. Shall i ask your mum to send you one?