Cooking for Kids: Smart Bites for Baby, Mika Shino
Books have long been gift-giving staples, and cookbooks are especially popular for bridal showers as well as holidays and birthdays. But would you give a cookbook at a baby shower? Can a cookbook make an appropriate gift for someone about to undergo or who is recovering from surgery? If it’s Mika Shino’s Smart Bites for Baby the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Smart Bites for Baby contains 300 recipes designed to incorporate “brain food” into every meal at a time (birth to two years) when the brain develops at a rate that will never again be experienced. “Okay,” you say, “but what has that got to do with surgery?”
Various surgical procedures demand that the patient consume a soft diet following surgery for what will seem an interminable length of time. There is only so much chicken broth, yogurt, and ice cream one can stand (all right…I take that back about the ice cream, but it goes double for Jell-O). Commercially prepared baby food is a handy alternative, but a poor one. Have you ever eaten strained sweet potatoes? No amount of brown sugar or cinnamon seems to make them palatable. And forget about how appetizing some of the baby food combinations sound, what your eyes perceive and what your taste buds perceive are two entirely different things.
Organized by baby’s age, Smart Bites for Baby recipes emphasize fresh and organic foods, as well as introducing children to a world of flavors when they’re too young to say “no.” Mika Shino encourages parents and caregivers to “introduce worldly flavors and spices at a very early age, making food a source of learning, physical and mental development, and even fun.” The dishes are easy to prepare and the use of fresh foods eliminates worries about unwanted preservatives, sugars, and other nasty ingredients. (Note to surgical patients: you will probably want to substitute soy milk or water in recipes that require breast milk as a thinner.)Continued on the next page