Cooking for Your Baby - An interview with new mom, Alba Davalos
Miami Mama and Baby Food Making Extraordinaire
At a small restaurant on Miami Beach, Gourmandize’s Lydia Lane sat down with Alba Davalos, first time mother to now 9-month-old, Leo.
Alba talks about her food background and how she unexpectedly became a baby food-making enthusiast.
Born in Morelia, Michoacán, in central Mexico, Alba spent most of her upbringing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she moved with her family at the age of four. She didn’t originate from an extremely health conscious background, but Alba made the decision to start making Leo’s food after he had a bad reaction to formula. “I just started researching it [homemade baby food]. I didn’t think I was going to be obsessed with it!”
Starting with simple purées of sweet potato, carrots or fruit, Alba’s baby food recipes continue to evolve as Leo gets older, introducing him to more of the spices his mama loves. “I season his food with the same seasonings I use; onion, garlic, bay leaves, cilantro, no salt or pepper yet.”
As Alba talks she hands baby Leo blueberries one by one followed by a bottle filled with atolé. “I don’t know what you would call it in English,” she said with a brief pause. Shrugging her shoulders she continued, sharing her recipe, a favorite of Leo’s:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup barley
5 balls all spice
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
- Fill a large stockpot with water, above handles and cook ingredients 20 minutes until
quinoa and barley are large and fluffy.
- Take out spices.
- Purée. Add a couple drops of agave.
- Cool. Store or put into bottle.
Alba admits, “It’s a lot of work," making all of Leo's food, "but completely worth it.” She offers some simple pointers she's learned over the past couple months that help make Leo's diet healthier.
- Alot of juices are full of sugar and made from concentrate, try coconut water instead.
- Make large portions of baby food and freeze it.
- Offer fresh fruit instead of fruit packs
- Sign up for a vegetable share. A lot of neighborhoods have them nationwide. For a new mom on a tight budget it’s a less expensive way to get a lot of fresh organic veggies, without the trip to the grocery store. For the Floridians, Alba receives her share from Annie’s Buying Club located through out Florida.
While the vegetable share gives her extra time, Alba reveals the two baby food making products she can’t live without:
OXO Tot® Baby Blocks™ Freezer Storage Containers - These containers can be used to freeze, heat, and transport your baby's food with out spills and are even dishwasher safe.
When the food arrives the conversation changes to Alba's southwestern cooking background and weekend plans, in between bites of tuna burger. From his high chair, Leo watches the conversation continue, bottle in hand blissfully slurping down his atolé until the very last drop.