Book Reviews: Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Baby Purees and Top 100 Finger Foods

Participants at Chicago Moms Blog and our sister sites were fortunate to receive free copies of two of  Annabel Karmel’s books, Top 100 Baby Purees and Top 100 Finger Foods which, I believe, were originally published several years ago in the U.K..  These books contain beautiful photographs and the recipes are user-friendly because they clearly set out the ingredients and the time it will take to make the recipe.   The baby puree book, in particular, describes appropriate ages for particular foods, but I would suggest consulting your pediatrician on these matters.

In regard to the baby puree book, unfortunately. and maybe this is my own “thing,” but I simply can’t endorse any baby puree book that doesn’t stress the importance of using organic ingredients.  I scoured the book and could not find any mention of “organic” in any of the recipes.  Her “quick and easy meals for a healthy and happy baby,” will not, in my opinion, result in a healthy baby without explaining to mothers why using organic ingredients is so important.  Karmel discusses “nutritional needs,” allergies, and lactose intolerance in children quite a bit, why not discuss organic ingredients as well?  Furthermore, her recipes incorporate many purees with beef and chicken [we don’t eat this at all in our family], with no mention of the dangers of bovine growth hormone or the unhealthy amount of antibiotics found in non-organic beef and chicken.  I don’t think this is a problem in the U.K. as they don’t use bovine growth hormones there but since she has decided to bring her book here to the U.S. this issue, in my opinion, must be addressed  for new mothers.

I was ready for some new ideas for my children, so I was excited to receive the Top 100 Finger Foods book. There is not a lot in there for vegetarians like our family.  I did make one recipe that was almost a success.  I tried the Baked Parsnip and Sweet Potato Chips recipe.  Baking took a long time and although the edges got brown, those were the only crunchy parts.  This was the first time my husband ate parsnips so I will be making it again.  My children preferred the baked sweet potato I prepared in case it was a flop.

Overall, I was disappointed by the lack of creativity in some of the dishes.  I was hoping to add some new items to our tired repertoire.  However, some of the dishes featured were commonplace recipes for pancakes, french toast, pizza, and quiche.  I was surprised she included nachos as one of her “healthy” finger foods.  The recipe was not a revamped nutritious version.  Karmel uses real store-bought tortilla chips.  Indeed, the recipe is similar to the very same nachos we are desperately trying to get off the cafeteria menus of our public schools.   At one point, even she concedes that she can’t think of anything else to make the number of recipes add up to the 100 the title promises “for a healthy, happy child,” stating, “I have included recipes for brownies and mini jam tarts [not even whole wheat by the way!].  After all, you are only a child once.”   Her jam tart recipe has two “ingredients” which are jam and store-bought pie crust.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve been disappointed by these two books.  I expected something comparable to Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.  No matter how many books Karmel has published and no matter how many beautiful photographs she includes, Yaron will, and still remains, my “go to girl” for all things food, babies and toddlers.

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9 Responses to “Book Reviews: Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Baby Purees and Top 100 Finger Foods”

  1. Kashif Says:

    I really enjoyed reading everyone’s post. Nice job!
    Realy nice one!

  2. michael Says:

    Raising your kids as vegetarians will hurt them a lot more than letting them eat beef. moron

    • moodymommy Says:

      Michael, beef eaters like you in the U.S. can be sure to enjoy your Mad Cow Disease, E coli bacteria, artificial hormones, antibiotics and feces.  I’ll steer clear of that, as well as torturing and murdering helpless creatures.  Resorting to calling people “morons” as you did in this case only hints at your level of intelligence.  People like you only help to make my point.

    • Alexa Says:

      Actually, a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet is one of the healthiest diets you can offer your child.

      “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

      Every doctor will tell you to eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. They’re the healthiest foods in the world! Dairy products can be part of a healthful diet too, though we obviously have no real need for another mammal’s breast milk.

      Animal products are full of antibiotics, hormones, filth, and disease, not to mention cholesterol and saturated fat. They are, of course, dead flesh!

      I do hope that you’ll research a bit more before you spout ignorant things and false information on random blogs.

      • moodymommy Says:

        Amen! One thing though, I wouldn’t rely on my doc’s advice on nutrition. Though the docs coming out of medical school are finally receiving some education on nutrition, most doctors today have had no education on nutrition at all in medical school.

  3. mummyregina Says:

    thanks for your nice truthful review. it was very helpful in deciding whether to purchase this book.

  4. Alyssa Says:

    There are things in meat that you can not get from a vegan/vegetarian diet.

    “Lean red meat is low in total fat and cholesterol and is an excellent source of iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, protein and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

    Long-chain omega-3s play a particularly important role in healthy development of children and preventing disease in adults.”

    Also, omega-3s contribute a lot to brain development.

    And if you eat fish, you have to consider that most fish has mercury which is harmful.

  5. Andy Says:

    It is great that everyone feels passionate about this important subject of learning how to feed babies, however, I find extreme views are completely unnecessary and not helpful at all.
    If you want to eat meat, great.
    If you don’t, great.
    There is no reason for anyone to preach or put down another person’s choices.
    There is an argument to be made for both cases, so it’s best to do what every person deems best and be respectful to others.
    I find oftentimes vegans and vegetarians are condescending and “preach-y” to carnivores.
    Meat eaters, on the other hand, can be dismissive of vegan or vegetarian lifestyles.
    Again, there are pros and cons to both so let’s all stop preaching and putting others down.

    • moodymommy Says:

      Dear Nan, I’m wondering if you have ever seen the movie “Food, INC?” I know too many carnivores who don’t have a good understanding of where their food is coming from (it is not your family farmer of 30 years ago). They are factory farms that are dirty and unsanitary and they are polluting our bodies w/artificial hormones (causing those super bugs that are immune to antibiotics), and polluting our earth (cattle cause more pollution than cars) and feeding animals is taking up valuable fertile farmland when we could be farming healthy grains and other foods for human consumption instead. Meat eaters, whether they want to poison their own bodies, are causing harm to me and everyone I love. So I do care. Sorry you don’t like “preachy” but people can’t just do and eat whatever they like if it is having a detrimental effect on our planet.


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