Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton
I bought this for my husband last year with the knowledge that when he finished it, I would read it. I just finished it. Literally, I just read through the last section of "recommended reading, our favorite convenience foods, and acknowledgments." The book is filled with flags of further reading or items to investigate and I have already made one of the recipes (bibimbap.)
Amster-Burton is a food writer and father living in Seattle with his wife, Laurie, and daughter, Iris. Here is something annoying: Iris at the time of writing was 4. Iris at the onset of fun food was about 20 months. Which is six months from where we are and I find myself impatient. But I digress.
This book is engaging. It is funny. It is inspirational and appetizing....that is, I would have a nice, full dinner and a little while later I would read a chapter or two in the bath and when I emerged I would be starving and inspired to really cook. Hence the bibimbap, which was delicious.
Amster starts with the precept that there is no baby food. There is only people food, presented in such a way that babies can eat it. And he went from there. He also invited Iris into the kitchen - one of the most intriguing slices of their life is the way Iris participates (or opts out because she's "busy lying on the couch.") Through tales of farmers markets, fishmongers, preschool snack days, and pasta sauce, Amster invites you in to his kitchen - there is no doubt in my mind that given the chance the invitation would be real and the casual comraderie would not falter. Or I'm just a crazy fan who reads too much into things. Either way, I really want a sequel.
He has a blog, and this entry has video footage with Iris, so you can see just how cute she really is:
PS - they are NOT vegetarians, so if you take issue with things like "it starts with flank steak" or "We bought a live lobster" then be warned those parts are in there. But don't skip the book. There are muffins and udon, too!