Book Review: Feeding the Whole Family

I started packing yesterday. I’m hoping to get a few boxes packed every day for mailing to Alaska, since we aren’t planning to send too much home, I think two weeks ought to get that job done. Then we are going to have a giant garage sale to purge everything else, then it will just be a matter of cleaning the house top to bottom. Which will be a daunting task.

Over our few years here I have accumulated a lot of books. I never used to buy books, I would just get them from the library. But while here, I made the conscious decision to start buying books regularly, sometimes even new, to show my support to what might become a dying industry. And to prepare for My Man and my future fantasy home library. His side– political revolution, deep ecology and legal strategy. My side– homesteading books, DIY, a complete collection of Wendell Berry, wilderness writing and cookery.

With that in mind I bought Feeding the Whole Family last year, instead of inter-library loaning it. It’s a great book emphasizing dinner as a meal for everyone, babies, children and adults. I would especially recommend it for anyone starting out with their first baby and wondering what the alternatives are to bottled baby food, and how to approach healthy food with growing children.

I grew up with hippie parents who just mashed up whatever they were eating for me. And yet when I had my own baby, I nevertheless had a panic attack about food rules. That first time around, it seemed so crucial what I feed our babe, and I felt intimidated. Brown rice and carrot purree were both straightforward and I felt fine about them, but she wouldn’t touch them. I struggled to get her to eat anything at all for the first several months. It wasn’t until she got old enough (about 1) that I started to feel confident picking through our dinner for the soft, smooshy parts. And then her desire to eat exploded! She loved food with flavor.

Feeding the Whole Family has a good section on what’s okay to feed babies (more than you think), another section on foods toddlers and children tend to like, and another on creating meals that serve the whole family. Most of the meals are pretty quick, basic, one-pot affairs using whole grains, beans and vegetables. It’s directed towards a beginner level cook, with thorough instructions. Although there are many different kinds of recipes, overall I would call the food style ‘hippie-asian’ with lots of tamari and sunflower seeds.

If you are still reading, and thinking this sounds like the book you need, I have a secret for you. Although this is a great book, I don’t need it. I have this kind of food pretty much internalized, and though I was grateful to read through the baby/toddler section, once was probably enough. So I’m going to give it away! I almost chucked it into the ‘sell’ box, but figured one of you lovely readers could get good use out of it. For the new mama who’s a bit daunted in the kitchen, this is the perfect book.

Leave a comment below telling me why you need this book. I’ll choose out the most deserving/desperate, and then pick randomly amongst you. Bear in mind, this is a used book. But if you are a real reader of this blog, not a giveaway troller, you won’t care– it’s in perfectly good condition.

Yes, I am going to leave this open to my overseas mamas (and papas?) because y’all rock and I want you to join in the fun too.

Begin! (Open until Tuesday, May 1st)

20 thoughts on “Book Review: Feeding the Whole Family

  1. I have had this book on my amazon wishlist for awhile. I am on a quest to get my family to eat better. My son spends half the time with me and half the time with his dad, and there he doesn’t eat very well. In October we lost most of our stuff due to mold infestation in our apartment and lost most of our stuff. We have been trying to replace things as we can afford, looking at thrift stores, and yard sales when we can first. I would love to have a new book that may help me with my picky eater. Thanks for the opportunity! I think it’s great that you are giving away a gently loved book. I love your tell it how you see it attitude, and look forward to my emails signaling a new blog post from you! I gotta say Alaska is on my wish list # 1 of places to visit! I’ll bet you are happy to be going home soon.

  2. I read your blog but have never written in. Somethings I agree with you on some I dont. But I was just feeding my 7 month old son some bluberry banana oatmeal baby food and wondering why it didn’t smell like anything. Shouldn’t it? Which got me worring about my 7 year old daughter who refuses to eat anything not out of a box. (Her eating habits may be my number one worry in life.) My husband and I eat a lot of homemade food but she just turns her nose up at it. Is it because of canned baby food? I have tried the “you eat what we eat” aproach with her and she went on a hunger strike for 4 days. And how in the world do I cook a dinner for a baby, a seven year old, my husband (who loves spicy food) and I can all eat?

  3. I don’t need the book, but will say that feeding babies is so much easier than baby food companies will have you believe. My kids ate what we ate. For those times that I needed something else, I made up mashed squash, carrots, peas, whatever, and froze them in ice cube trays. Easy to grab and take to the park. My kids are now 7 and 10. They love all veggies and will happily eat anything I make. It’s all in how you start them off.

  4. we do/did BLW with our two littles – also known as feeding them the same food we eat without bothering to puree or mash. works for us – they both love eating real food ALL.THE.TIME. :-)

  5. I don’t need this book–no kids, etc., so don’t pick me!–but I wanted to comment on that lovely woodcut on the cover. It reminds me of the woodcuts in Laurel’s Kitchen–is it the same artist?

    1. Not sure, but I think that woodcut is Nikki McClure (sp?) she is a big deal in Portland/Seattle, all of her work is just gorgeous.

  6. We have twin girls born in December that had a very rocky start due to being born at just past 24 weeks weighing in at only 1lb4oz and 1lb5oz. Their due date was April 4, and we are delighted that they are both home from the NICU now. They are doing wonderfully for 24 weekers, but I’ve struggled with my disappointment of not being able to exclusively breastfeed them like my other kiddos due to their medical issues. I had thought about making baby food for my other kids, but never got around to it. This time I’d really like to though so I can feel like I have some control over what is going into their vulnerable bodies and provide the best possible nutrition for healthy growth and healing. I’m a regular reader here and subscriber via email.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I’m being a “bad mom” because all I feed my children are convenience foods (never fast food) but foods that over a childhood would lead to not very good healthy examples. I eat good but they aren’t interested in what I eat so perhaps a book like this would help. Thanks

  8. Hi CJ! What a kind thing you are doing. Spreading the confidence to feed the babes the food that is, actually ‘food’ and doesn’t have a shelf life similar to paper nappies is inspiring.
    Don’t include me, I don’t need it (although I am a cook book junkie), but just wanted to give you a cyber pat on the back for your kindness…

  9. Parents don’t need this lovely book to feed their new babes well. My son ate table foods from the start, mashed or pureed, everything we ate, introduced one at a time to watch for allergies. Freeze leftovers in ice cubes trays and then pop into a labeled ziplock. Warm at any time (microwave or stovetop), instant baby lunch! For the person who wins it, the book sounds like great resource to start with!

  10. Ohhh I could do with a few more ideas :-). We cook all our own food including baby food… But the toddler is becoming picky so we probably need to shake things up a bit. One problem I am currently grappling with is that we do cook our meals with salt so I’m not sure when it’s ok to switch the baby over to ‘family meals’… I can’t remember how we did it with our son.

  11. I have this book and LOVE it! Obviously, no spot taken, but just wanted to share how great it is. The tempeh taco recipe alone is worth the price (if you don’t score the freebie offer). My kids (4 & 16 months) really dig the food, and I like that the recipes are really quick but still nourishing whole foods style eating……no time here for the more elaborate gourmet type whole foods cooking I did before kids, this book has really helped me bridge the gap without compromising. Awesome giveaway!

  12. Oh me please! My hubby just lost his job and he wasn’t employed much of last year either. We have a house with enough land to feed us but I need ideas of what to do with the stuff I grow. I have an overabundance of nettles with no idea of what to do with them. I know they are edible but how do I get my family to eat them? HELP!

  13. I was going to write and make a case for myself but I skimmed the other people’s comments above and I can’t in all conscience make a case for myself when Kellie’s family have suffered a mould disaster and Jenn’s husband is unemployed. Good luck with trying to decide who gets the book! Can they post the book back and forth to each other?! I have no idea how much postage in the US costs! Best wishes to you all! Perhaps you could post some for these guys?

  14. Hi CJ,
    I too covet this book, with a two-year old and a five-year old who eat olives, asparagus, and manchego cheese, but consider with deep suspicion anything that comes out of one pot (and the one-pot kitchen is a gift I dearly love to give the Husband, who does all the day’s-end dishes). Something about the integrity of food is unforgivably disturbed when ingredients are combined instead of presented in those neat little divided trays….But in all conscience I think that there are moms more deserving of a gift in the mail than myself. So please, if your reader permits, give me an address for your runner-up and I will pop a copy in the mail to her the same time I order my own. Best of luck with the boxes and canning and the sleep and the dust-balls lurking behind never-before budged appliances.

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