What do snot and baby food have in common?

They are both being produced in vast quantities in our household!!!

I’ve been skimming a few other blogs lately, mostly ones I’ve found surfing the comments on popular and well-read food blogs. The ones I tend to get to seem to all be written by “mommies” (ugh), who want to eat well, and juggle their careers with all of their wholesome aspirations for their families, and who also like to do crafts, and organize their tupperware drawers.  I guess there are a lot of us out there, who are trying to find a wider audience for our tales of motherhood. I assume they’re kind of like me – just writing stuff for the pleasure of writing, happy if someone likes it, maybe looking for a bit of an outlet after day-in-day-out of cookingdiapersdisheslaundrybaths-bedtimestoriespickinguptoysplayingstoredressingundressing…

I have been trying to stay away from the “mommy-blogger” club, but since that’s pretty much what I am (a mum) these days, it’s hard to avoid it completely. And I desperately want to share with you 2 things related to my current domestic activities: making baby food, and removing snot from the faces and cranial cavities of my daughters.

OK. So you’ll have to wait for the baby food part, cause I really need to talk about snot.

Over the holidays, both of my kids got colds. Frida (AKA The Demon) goes to daycare so she of course got sick first. Try as we might, we could not keep her far enough away from her 5-month-old sister Elsie. We’d watch in horror as the tendrils of snot would creep from Frida’s oozing nose to her sister’s wide-eyed face . As her cold morved morphed into an eye infection, Elsie came down with her first cold. You may have heard about the flooding in Gaspé: The snot was really flowin’.

(Elsie more recently got her revenge, by regurgitating a good-sized load of freshly-digested milk right into Frida’s mouth. That’ll teach her to french-kiss her sister)

Here’s something I bet you haven’t written in your gratitude journal: “Boy, am I grateful for the ability to blow my nose”. If you were having trouble coming up with one for today, you can use that, it’s a good one.

While 5-month-olds are generally content to let the mucous run down their faces, 2-year-olds are old enough to realize this is unpleasant, but are not quite at all capable of blowing their noses. This results in a near-constant howl of, “mon nez il coule!” (my nose he is running). Said 2-year-old then blows through her mouth when we hold the kleenex up to her nose, despite her skill at blowing snot bubbles, to her immense delight and that of her nose-picking friends.

There is a solution to all this mucous, however. When babies (and toddlers) can’t blow their noses, they get really stuffy at night and they can’t drink properly, so they sleep even less than usual, which isn’t a lot, so we have to get that stuff outta there. Cue the nose-vacuum, nasal aspirator, or snot-sucker. You stick it in the nostril, and suck as hard as you can (yes, with your mouth) through a long, long, straw. The snot burbles out and collects in a chamber (very, very far away from the mouthpiece) and then you can blow it out into the sink, onto a kleenex, or dirty sock, or whatever you have handy. There is one fancy European version that is even called the NoseFrida Snot Sucker. Not making this up. Before you suck out the snot, however, you shoot saline solution up the nose. They love that.

So what this all boils down to is, for 3 weeks over Christmas we were full-time, salt-water shooting, snot-sucking parents, who also had the unenviable task of getting penicillin into Frida without her gagging it up all over the place. We were mopping up snot, penicillin, saline, and of course the near-constant flow of regurgitated milk, leaked whiz, and missed poops.

Just in case you were thinking, “Yeah! I can’t wait to have kids!” – wait. Christmas passed, the snot tap was shut off, and finally, the girls were healthy. Until… 3 days ago. So since then, we’ve been back on snot patrol, one of us gleefully aspirating snot from our childrens’ noses as the other restrains the flailing arms and legs . Elsie puts up with it just fine; in fact, I think she likes liked it. Frida, on the other hand, claims to want a “treatment” like her sister, and then flails around like flapjack in a frypan as we attempt the extraction, howling promises to blow her nose. And then blows gently through her mouth into the kleenex. And then admires her snot-bubbles in the mirror.

But there are joys here and there. I’m so excited that Elsie eats food now, cause she actually eats what I make for her. I can hold out hope for another year or so that at least one of my kids will eat something I make (spaghetti with Classico sauce does not count as “something I make”).

The other day, I was stewing some pears for  Elsie, when I became distracted, most likely by some snot flood that I had to sandbag. When I remembered the pears, they were browning and caramelly – not burnt, just gloriously sticky and sugary. I added a bit more water, gave them a little stir, and left them on the stove. They finally were soft enough and were also so wonderfully caramelized I didn’t even want to give them to the baby. When I put them through the blender the colour was like… ah, caramel. The flavour is divine. Intense pear flavour, with a gorgeous, deep, almost bitter sweetness from the caramel. All without adding sugar. A very happy accident, much like Elsie herself (whoops! well, what did you think – that I wanted to get pregnant when my first kid was 14 months old?).

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it, to show you the colour, cause it got consumed too fast. When I tried to make it again, I was too scared to let it caramelize all the way – It was still good, but you really almost have to forget it on the stove in order for it to get really deep and golden.

Anyway, I don’t know how many of you are actually interested in making pear sauce, but take our word for it, it’s gooo-ood, and kids like it too, and so do grown ups! I could imagine it being unbelievable with Liberté fatty fat Mediterannée 8 % Vanilla yogurt. Do you get that out there in AngloLand?

Here’s how I made it:

Peeled a bunch of pears (I used Bosc, cause that’s what was on special) & cored them & chopped them into 2″-ish chunks

Put them in a cast iron pot with a bit of water, no cover

Turned the burner on medium

Forgot about the pears till there was no more water in, freaked out, stirred, added a bit more water

Let them cook even more till they were covered in a lovely brown caramel almost all over

Puréed them

Put them in jars.

I tried this with apples too but they got too soft, too fast and did not caramelize before turning into a mushy pulp.

I am excited about this stuff, not only cause it’s divine, but also because it means that “cooking” for a 7-month-old does not have to be so damn boring! If any of you mamas have any other fun baby food recipes, don’t hesitate to share!

We are delving in to fun times, here, folks – Elsie eats food that’s really easy to make, and the colds are just about over. I’ll have fun while it lasts, cause that’s another thing snot and baby food have in common – kids have colds that last for about the same length of time as they eat puréed food (not that long, in the grand scheme). Have fun with the snot bubbles!

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4 thoughts on “What do snot and baby food have in common?

  1. Annie

    LOVED this post… I was actually laughing out loud (which is not so good for my sore “under-carriage” being 6 days post-delivery…). I remember the joy when Lucía learned to blow her nose – it was like winning the lottery!!

    And as for the Liberté Mediterranean 8% milk-fat yogurt, we most definitely can get it out her in Anglo-land. In fact, I have a container of strawberry in my fridge right now (though I can’t finish because I am off dairy due to breastfeeding… It is going to go to waste in the back of my fridge!!).

    Thanks for the laughter – today is my first day coming out of the post-partum hormonal daze that was the past few days… Reading this definitely helped!

  2. Thanks for this and all the other posts I just caught up on! Glad to see the reference to smittenKitchen -a great read and excellent recipes.

    FYI, there is some kick-ass yogurt to be had in these here NZ parts. The culture they use doesn’t make the yogurt taste sour (imagine that!). Now that we don’t have back in Algo-Canada land…

  3. Pingback: Vanilla, pears, vanilla, pears… and cake! « stories for my sister

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