why i wrote a cookbook called “growing up gourmet”

This week, I am proud to call myself a cookbook author. It has been a decade in the making, and definitely a labour of love. 

My recipe collection started building 10 years ago when Baby Gourmet was just getting off the ground. I was busy creating food combinations for my 6-month-old daughter, Finley, and wanted to give her a variety of interesting foods not found in your typical grocery store baby food. Growing up with a mother who grew her own produce and made the effort to make our family healthy, homemade meals inspired me to do the same. 

I learned babies are open to trying new things if you let them. 
My goal was to feed Finley the same meals I was eating, but in “baby-friendly” versions. I researched everything about how to feed your baby, what foods to feed and how to prepare them. It was a fascinating journey as I discovered babies were very open to try things other than basic rice cereal, sweet potato and pureed carrots.

I learned that if you introduce a wide variety of foods, flavours and textures at an early age, children grow up to be less picky and transition to the family table much easier. I was determined to try this approach, and for the record, it paid off.

I wanted to create recipes the whole family could enjoy. 
When I began researching how to make baby food, I noticed most baby food cookbooks only focused on how to make baby food. While this sounds logical, I felt a large component was missing: what do we, as parents, eat after we are done making food for baby? My biggest challenge was that making baby food was time consuming and after all that work, only baby got a meal. What about the other family members? 

I would usually end up eating baby food leftovers. But that wasn’t going to work for everyone else. I started spending time creating recipes I could make for the whole family. Take one recipe, and find a way to make it baby-, kid- and adult-friendly. My book is full of recipes designed with this in mind. 

I wanted to give parents some time back in their day. 
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen only feeding one member of the family. I wanted to knock one recipe out and spend the rest of my time as a new mom playing and hanging out with my baby. 

The best part about writing this cookbook is knowing that I will be giving parents time back with quick, easy and healthy recipes the whole family will enjoy. 

I love creating recipes, and I love how my kids have “grown up gourmet.” 
Developing recipes is still what I enjoy the most, at Baby Gourmet and at home. I have found introducing new foods and variety to our mealtime has made my kids good eaters and willing to try new things. Over the years, they have adapted as I have adapted, and I hope that I can inspire other parents to help their kids grow up with a love of good food.

Jennifer Carlson

Founder, Baby Gourmet Foods

Jen is the mother of two well-fed children and has a passion for all things culinary. She is also an inspirational speaker to women, busy moms and entrepreneurs.

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