Interested in whipping up a batch of fresh fare for your nascent eater? The right tools will make the job simple and rewarding, so invest now in equipment that will last a lifetime. Eileen Behan, R.D., author of The Baby Food Bible (Ballantine Books), offers her kitchen gear hotlist:
- An immersion blender allows you create healthy baby food in small batches, right in the pot you cooked it in. Later, you’ll use this lightweight tool to make quick-fix creamed soups and on-the-spot smoothies. Plan to spend: $30 to $100.
- The right knife for the job makes a cook’s life easier—and safer. Behan recommends two: a high-quality chef’s knife (aka French knife) and a paring knife. Plan to spend: $20 for the paring knife; $40 to $200 for the chef’s knife.
- A large, heavy Dutch oven does double duty by going directly from stovetop to oven. “Once your baby’s a bit older, you’ll use it to make homemade stews and boil up spaghetti,” Behan says. “Later, use it for pot roast.” Plan to spend: $50 to $250.
- Two cutting boards are a must. “Time to get serious about hygiene,” Behan notes. “To protect your baby from food poisoning, you need one board for fruits and veggies, and one for meats.” Keep them apart, and wash them often with soap and hot water. Plan to spend: $10 to $20 each.