FYI: I was not paid to write this review. This is my honest-to-golly opinion. Oh, and you should also know that at the end of this review is an opportunity for you to win a free Beaba Babycook, so you can form your own opinion and see if it matches mine. (And if it doesn't you can be all like, "Um, that Claire Bidwell Smith is soo crazy," and I won't mind at all.)
Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to the kind of mom I am. I've quickly realized that, with each choice I make about how to parent, another set of choices blooms. Being a modern, urban mom, the kind of mom with a faded Obama bumper sticker and tattoos (also faded), who leans towards baby-wearing and insisted on a natural birth, pretty much means that I HAVE to make my own baby food, right?
Seeing as friends began sending me baby food cookbooks before Veronica was even born probably answers that question. But the thing is that even if I weren't the kind of mom I described above I'd still probably attempt to cook most of my baby's meals, if only because I love cooking and baby food presents a whole new culinary adventure.
But the truth is that, like most things that had to do with having a baby, I hadn't given it much thought. Not until I was visiting my friend Tracy and laid eyes on her Beaba Babycook. I know that sounds like it's straight out of a review for the Babycook, and it is, but seriously, the second I saw that thing I wanted it.
Not only is it really cute, but it's a gadget specifically designed to make baby food and I'm a total sucker for cute, specialized gadgets that make food.
Anyway, when it came time to start feeding Veronica I began reading the baby cookbooks and looking at my cooking options. The Beaba was pricey (It runs around $150 on the Beaba site, Amazon and at Williams Sonoma) so I wanted to be sure it was worth it before I took the plunge.
Did I just hear you price-gasp? Before you do it again, let me explain. The Beaba Babycook steams, purees and reheats and defrosts baby food all in one cute little counter-top machine. I think that's pretty awesome.
Let me further explain: Pretty much every baby food recipe I've read involves steaming and pureeing food. Prior to the Babycook, I made V's first batch of food (pureed sweet potatoes) just using what I had on hand at home. I steamed the sweet potatoes in my big stove-top steamer and then pureed them in my Cuisinart. By the time I was done I had a large dirty pot, a dirty steaming basket and multiple dirty Cuisinart parts. Not the end of the world by any means, but a big difference from my experience with the Babycook.
I got the Babycook shortly after that and have nothing but fun with it. It's easy to use, it's compact so it doesn't take up too much room, and the food combinations you can make with it are pretty endless.
Things I've made so far with the Babycook:
- sweet potatoes
- pears and mangos
- apples and blueberries
Here's a photo outline of some pears I made for Veronica the other day:
After filling the steamer on the left with water, I dumped some chopped pears in the steaming basket.
The only other concern I had about investing in the Beaba Babycook was how long I would actually use it for. Seeing as babies only really eat this kind of pureed food for a matter of months before moving on to heartier fare, would the Babycook really be worth it? I checked in with my friend Liz who has a 20 month old daughter, and who convinced me that this product was well worth it.
Liz had this to say:
I used it regularly for about 9 months, making puree of any food I
could think of for my baby to try. I cooked and pureed every fruit and
vegetable I could think of, both fresh and frozen. My baby's favorite
foods were sweet potatoes, pears, blueberries and apricots.
Now that she is older and I'm not creating purees as much, I still use it to steam veggies--for example, cauliflower--which I then mash up or puree to add to other foods, like a mac and cheese sauce. I also like to steam a variety of veggies, puree them together to make a mix, freeze the puree as ice cubes, and later defrost in the steamer and add to tomato sauce to toss with some pasta and extra virgin olive oil. This is her favorite meal and having the Beaba around makes it easy for me to provide tasty veggies that she typically won't eat by hand.
A few last things I love about Beaba Babycook:
- The Babycook actually saves a lot of money. Premade baby food, especially quality, organic food is more expensive than you might think.
- There are some really cute feeding accessories to go with it, if you so choose.
- The Babycook has an automatic shut-off feature, which is unbelievably helpful to new moms who can't think straight on a regular basis.
- I don't know why (probably because I'm not good at science and math) but the Babycook steams really quickly, as in like 15 minutes for some sweet potatoes or pears or what-have-you.
- If you don't have a microwave (or don't believe in them in a paranoid way like me) the Babycook doubles as a defroster and reheater, which is another big time and cookware saver.
- Each batch of food I've made has come out to about 6-8 servings, two of which I keep fresh and the rest of which I freeze in handy little cubes. Turns out babies don't eat a whole lot, and if you're like me your freezer is full of mystery items anyway, so this is perfect.
- The instructions booklet comes with some great recipe ideas.
To win simply leave a comment below telling me what your favorite comfort food is.
Here are some rules:
- No duplicate comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
- This giveaway is open to US Residents.
- Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
- You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
- Contest ends January 20, 2010 at 8AM, CST.
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Also, check out the main page on Life in Chicago Reviews for more give-aways.
Congrats to Amanda from Madison, WI for winning the Beaba BabyCook!