I have never been able to feed myself appropriately. I’m a relatively intelligent person, and in many ways, I ooze competence. I have never struggled with executive function. I’m organized, I’m systematic. And yet still somehow, feeding myself is completely beyond me.
I don’t cook, and while I’ve gone through periods of cooking, it always seems like an absolutely insane waste of time and energy and money and decision-making when pre-made food is so easy and widely available. Home cooking at this point seems like sewing your own clothes: you certainly can do it, if you enjoy that sort of thing, but it’s a full out hobby that’s going to consume no small portion of your life, so if that’s your thing, that’s your thing.
But yet somehow, for everyone else, cooking is merely a daily chore, like bathing or brushing teeth, a maintenance activity. I don’t understand that. For me, it’s a giant onerous obligation that sucks up like fully 3/4 of the scant free hours in a workday.
I am usually able to institute some sort of maintenance feeding of myself that is very fast and easy. Right now, for example, I eat a packet of this pre-made dal for dinner every night, along with a cup of microwave minute rice. The dal takes exactly 1:30 to heat up and the minute rice takes, well, 1:00, so my entire dinner is ready in 2:30 minutes. It takes probably 2 minutes to eat it, and there is no cleanup. Dinner is thus fully accomplished in under 5 minutes.
But now I have this baby.
I don’t know why I thought that when I had a baby, I would suddenly know how to deal with food. I am still as confounded by it as ever, with the additional wrinkle that there are only certain things a baby can eat. There’s a new bit of social pressure for women in my demographic around the idea that college-educated, upper-middle-class mothers do not give our babies baby food, or even homemade purees. Instead, we introduce a colorful variety of whole foods. Baby food — especially pre-made baby food — is for trashy people, or, as we all heavily imply but never say, poors.
Now, typically, beyond the classism, I find all this type of stuff thinly veiled feminist backlash, to re-convince women that they need to spend all their time on domestic duties that had previously been automated or pre-packaged somehow, so that they will be ineffective in other areas and not gain any real power or serious money (or organize and take to the streets in a bloody revolution). But somehow I fell for it in this case, and felt that I absolutely could not under any circumstances give Edith baby food.
In practice, this has mostly resulted in is my not feeding her solids at all, because I’m way too exhausted after a long day at work to make decisions about some sort of vegetable to steam for her till it’s mushy, let it cool, scoop it out for her, let her fling it everywhere, bathe her, clean the high chair, etc. etc. etc.
I’ve been agonizing about this for two weeks and trying to decide how I will build meal-planning, shopping, and food prep into my daily life as a single parent who works full-time. And then I suddenly realized there’s a really simple solution to this for the time being: fucking baby food.
Look, I just am not an especially healthy person when it comes to diet and I’m incredibly lazy. I once lived for three months eating nothing but Clif bars. I was a beta tester for Soylent. I eat conventional produce from Mexico. I spend an obscene amount of money on delivery just for myself that I could easily go pick up. I go through probably two jars of peanut butter a week. My roommate had to teach me that you’re supposed to heat the pan before you put the egg in when I was 30 years old. My idea of health food is an Amy’s frozen dinner. I drink wine out of a can.
I formula feed my baby and now I’m giving her jarred baby food, and it won’t kill her, and if you don’t like that, well, you can fucking bite me.
This is going to sound absolutely insane, so stick with me here, but baby food is exactly for babies? You can just feed it to them. Works a treat.
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I don’t know why no one told me this. It isn’t in the books.