Baby-led weaning is a brilliant concept and one which has helped Tom develop a sincere love of food, but it comes at a price, writes Ben Keenan.
For each spoonful of solid, unpureed deliciousness we offer Tom, some will be eaten with gusto, some will be dropped on the floor, some will be offered to a fellow diner and some will be launched across the room.
But whatever takes place at our dinner table, discovering food been a wonderful shared experience and an opportunity for the boy to stretch his culinary muscles and explore the edible world of scrumptiousness that surrounds him. Some of my earliest memories are food based. In fact, if you ask my family, they will tell you that I can remember almost every meal my family and I have enjoyed together since the mid-eighties because those are some of my most cherished memories.
Now that Tom has partially mastered eating with a fork, the options available to us as a family when it comes to eating out have increased dramatically. There are certain places which provide the tools required and the atmosphere that new parents desire when making the choice to take a potential nappy wearing liability into a public eatery and others that we wouldn’t dream of taking him.
Recently, the boy has taken a liking to the Gallic charm found within Café Rouge. We like it too, but I have to admit that the relaxed pleasures of dining in a restaurant are somewhat diminished when my bundle of wonder gets the urge to explore. Since he was six months old, his eclectic global flavour intake means that the boy is willing to try anything, which is fantastic, but less so when he would much prefer to eat what I’m having, or what the couple next to us are enjoying than what’s in front of him.
But no matter where we eat or what we are eating, the important thing is that we eat together, as a family, at a table without phones or television to distract us from another delicious chance to commit a beautiful moment to memory.