Around here, we love top 10 lists. I particularly enjoyed Jessica’s Top Ten Things I Ate in College That I’ll Never Eat Again. It brought back some fond memories and the taste of stomach acid. I might also add the Ramen sandwich and instant apple cider made with dorm room sink water. But it’s been ten years since I entered that freshman dorm, and life as a parent has taken me to some new culinary lows. So, here we go…the top 10 foods only a baby (or maybe a toddler) could love:
10. Single-Grain Cereal
As a child, my mom tried to sell me on the virtues of a strange paste called Cocoa Wheats, sometimes singing the jingle as she stirred the gluey concoction on the stove. Even at the tender age of 8, I knew that stuff was nasty. And yet, we are told to give it to babies as their first food because it’s “highly digestible” and has a “smooth texture.” I think we’ve only succeeded this long because they can’t talk back. Just a warning, parents, they get over it pretty quickly and you’ll be stuck with a box of the stuff for months or years to come.
9. Pureed Vegetables
All the texture of rice cereal, plus the power to stain any and all surfaces they touch — liquified veggies are truly abhorrent. Since we waited until Elijah was six months old to give him solid foods, the mushy green paste period was mercifully short. We never tried the jarred meat, so I can only imagine the horror. And the smell.
I have been to a few restaurants lately where super-smooth vegetable mush was passed off as “sauce.” Nope. I’m on to you. Gerber has a stake in this somewhere.
8. Food Off the Floor
Now, before you go and call me a snob, know that I am not talking about the 5-second rule, or even the 30-second rule. I am talking about days-old, dried up, stuck-to-the-floor old food. My son was never big on putting foreign objects into his mouth, but if it is, or once was, food — look out. On the upside, I will say that my sweeping standards are dramatically higher as a result.
7. Breast milk
You would think this goes without saying, but, sadly, it does not.
Have you ever noticed that plain Cheerios smell like urine? Well, now that I’ve planted the idea in your mind, I am sure that you will. Also, I don’t really trust any food that tastes exactly the same no matter how long the box has been open.
5. Teething Biscuits
Hard as rocks, they become particularly appetizing after they have been gummed on for an hour or so and are coated in a good bit of slime. Oh, but wait, what’s that? I suppose I do like biscotti. And no, I can’t really explain the difference. Never mind.
4. Play Dough
Not a food, you say? I know quite a few youngsters who would beg to differ. I have started making it myself so that at least I know that my child is not eating plastic. I even tried dying it blue to give it an un-food-like appearance, but to no avail.
3. Cut-up Grapes
The whole point of eating grapes is that you don’t have to do anything to them. And yet, as a parent, you will become so terrified of your child choking that you will find yourself cutting up all sorts of things that you used to think were finger foods.
2. Dry Oatmeal
When my niece was younger, she had a dairy allergy, so my sister-in-law would make her oatmeal with just water. Or sometimes nothing at all. And my niece did not seem to mind one bit. Talk about making sure you get your whole grains, huh?
1. Graham Crackers
My husband once referred to these as toddler crack, based on my son’s extreme agitation when confronted with them. Unless they are on the outside of a marshmallow and some chocolate, I see no reason why I would want to eat these sawdust flavored pieces of cardboard. The best part is that my son refers to them as “cookies.” Boy, is his mind going to be blown the day I let him have an Oreo.