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Baby food refers to the food items which are specifically made for the consumption of the infants aged between four months to two years. Baby foods do not include any infant formula foods or breast milk. These baby recipes come in a number of choices in the terms of taste and flavor. Baby dishes can be produced by different kinds of baby food manufacturing companies or may be just prepared at home with the ingredients which the whole family is having, but in the mashed and easily digestible version for the baby. But then of course, these ingredients for the homemade baby recipes can only include doctor recommended baby foods, which definitely don’t include spices, extracts and herbs. Since these baby dishes are meant for infants within a broad age group, so while some babies may have developed teeth, the others may still lack them. This is the reason why, baby food items are prepared in different textures and with different composition for the ease of eating. So, baby recipes can be either soft and lumpy or in the form of liquid based paste or any other form which makes the baby food easily chewable. Some popular commerical baby foods are "Gerber 3rd Foods Broccoli & Carrots with Cheese," "Earth's Best Chunky Orchard Fruit," and "Simply Natural Baby Food."

History of Baby Recipes

In the historical times, most cultures created pastes out of grains or processed them into a liquid consistency for making baby food. In the western cultures, baby foods were generally homemade, until after the 1900s, when the whole scenario changed and with the industrial revolution, baby dishes began to be sold commercially. In those days, the baby recipes used to be promoted as convenience items in the baby food market. In Netherlands, commercially made baby foods were first introduced in 1901 by Martinus van der Hagen are sold by the company NV Nutricia. In the United States, baby recipes were commercially launched for the first time by the Fremont Canning Company in the year 1928. In 1931, the Beech-Nut company entered the U.S baby food market. Around the same time, Pablum was introduced which were basically pre-cooked dried baby dishes. These baby foods were initially made for the sick children, which later became a popular baby food. With the content and quality of some baby recipes sold by some companies came under criticism, demand arose for organic baby food from the ‘60s to the ‘80s. Since then, several large manufacturing companies have come up with organic baby dishes.

Popular Baby Dishes from Different Cuisines

Baby food differs from one culture to another. In American cuisine, beginner baby recipes generally include bland cereals in the starting and gradually move on to boiled and mashed vegetables and fruits. In the Chinese and other Asian cuisines, baby dishes are mostly prepared in the homes and the infants are mainly fed with xifan or rice porridge. After that, as the baby grows up, he is fed with mashed soft vegetables, fruits, tofu and fish, generally mixed with the rice porridge baby food. In Sweden, baby foods mainly come in the form of mashed fruit, especially bananas, oatmeal and mashed vegetables. In Western Africa, the first solid baby food is usually the maize porridge. In Canada, iron fortified baby dishes are more common which come in the form of infant cereals that may include cooked egg yolks, meats, poultry, fish, tofu or cooked legumes.

Preparation and Commercial Availability of Baby Recipes

Baby food is available readily in the stores. These baby recipes can be available in three different forms which include – dry baby dishes, ready-to-feed baby foods and frozen baby recipes. The foods are prepared in small batches by the parent and fed to the infant from time to time. The dry version generally includes oatmeal cereals or rice, which are mixed with a liquid base like milk or simple stew before feeding the child with them. Frozen baby food is specially processed with heat, which finalizes the product in a frozen form making them more palatable than the traditional jarred foods. Frozen foods are prepared by cooking fresh fruits and vegetables which are pureed and then, frozen. The frozen baby foods are a quick alternative to parents who otherwise cook baby food at home and then, freeze it for storing it for a longer stay.

Baby Food: Trivia
• Although honey is regarded as one of the healthiest natural foods, however, it is not meant to be used in preparing baby foods as it the immune system of infants is not very well developed to digest the complex sugars found in honey.

• Popular foods used for thinning baby food are breast milk, cow’s milk, apple juice and yogurt.

• Popular foods used for thickening baby meals are cottage cheese, whole grain cereal, mashed potato (white/sweet) and cooked egg yolks.