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Archive for the ‘Product Recs’ Category

A good friend is preggers for the first time and recently asked point blank, “What one thing was most useful when she was little?”  Obviously there are must-have purchases to keep an infant safe and healthy.  But hands down there is one product at the top of my most-useful list, and it has nothing to do with food:  the Eurobath.  Made by a company named Primo, I think this is one of the most worthwhile and functional tools around.

I am a big fan of registries.  The notion that it is somehow ‘not personal’ to give something you know the parents have already vetted is selfish on the part of the gift giver.  Parents should be gifted what they want and need, not saddled with extra stuff which may take time to return, duplicate what they already have, or in the case of the Eurobath, take up an enormous amount of space.

When new-parents-to-be are sorting through what they think they will need, the little infant bathtub seem like a necessity.  Most folks add it to their list without much thought and move on.  But in reality, sponge baths on the changing table work great during the lumpy stage, and most kids outgrow those little infant tubs in a matter of days.  Save a few bucks and just buy the sponge.

Post-spongebath at 12 weeks old

However, for the Eurobath, I have embraced hypocrisy and often *gasp* purchased off-registry, having it shipped directly to the new parents.  Friends have given me insight into their typical response of, “What the…   are you kidding me???”  Yeah.  I know, it’s three feet long.  Sorry about that.  Trust me.  You’re going to love it.

The Child at 4 months kicking and splashing away!

And love it they do.

The beauty of this thing is that it works for the limbs-flailing lumpy stage, and toddlers as well.

The molded plastic does a great job of cradling a tiny child gently so it was much easier to sit next to the tub rather than hunch over and destroy my back any more than it already was.  It sadly can’t go without saying that you don’t leave a kid of any age in this thing unattended.  Ever.  Don’t be daft.  But, this tub provides a comfortable angle and support for a wee one to splash and kick in the water without having to awkwardly lean over to support their weight for them.  It gives the freedom to get them clean without a struggle, and more often than not a bath became a long respite of happily-entertained baby time.  Fix a cuppa tea, settle into a comfortable spot on the floor next to the tub, and babies will contentedly entertain themselves splashing away for an hour.

I would not use this on a counter.  Once it’s got water in it, it is way too heavy and unwieldy to try and drain properly.

At eleven months old sitting up in the Eurobath with a pointless fork

Once the kidlette is big enough to sit up safely on their own they simply face the other way and the molded plastic slides their bum into a comfortable spot.  (Once again under the don’t-be-daft heading – it’s not for standing up in, climbing into without help, or leaving a kid alone even for a second.)  Many a scorching summer day was spent splashing in the tub cooling off.

And as for storage?  Yeah, at 36” long, 21” wide and 10” deep, it is big.  There is a hole on one end if adding a cord and hanging it from the wall fits your space, but we elected to store it in our tub.  It was just too big and unwieldy to put anywhere else.  The convenience of kid entertainment was well worth the inconvenience of removing it each time we needed a shower of our own, and the tub within a tub set up worked well for us for three years.  The manufacturer recommended age is from 0-24 months, however The Child was comfortable in it until she was about three and she has always been top of the charts on height.

I had a blown out disk in my back unbeknownst to me when we decided to have a baby.  Doctors always blew off my back pain because I was young, active, and flexible.  When The Child was 9 months old and I was having trouble functioning at all, I finally saw an orthopaedic instead of a GP.  The MRI showed there was no disk left at L4-L5.  There were a few fragments of disk tissue, and the space where the disk used to be had utterly collapsed leaving my vertebrae in direct contact with each other.

I managed three and a half more years before finally electing to surgically address the problem, and the Eurobath was a big help.  This unwieldy piece of molded plastic helped The Child get used to the feel of splashing water in her face as an infant, became daily entertainment for an active toddler, and made bathtime far safer for us both at a time when I was often physically incapable of leaving the house or moving from the floor.  That’s just full of win.

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Freezing Babyfood

Nothing like fumbling with ice cube trays at the cabin to remind me of how beautifully the trays at home work.  You know, back home where I have an ice maker…

When we introduced solids to our daughter we froze homemade baby food in ice cube trays.  Often this was no more effort than zipping up our own leftovers in the blender.  Once frozen, the cubes popped out smoothly and were stored in zip top bags in the freezer.  This left the trays available for the next food to freeze, and we found we never needed more than two trays.

This made meal time easier.  Just snag a frozen chunk out of a few different bags and warm up in the microwave a bit.  Easy peasy!  Dish up a little plain whole milk yogurt alongside the veg, or sprinkle a little baby cereal into the fruit of choice and we were good to go.

The ice trays we bought at the time were a different shape than the traditional cube, and as I attempted to procure a few cubes this week for my cocktail I was missing my trays at home.  Those little frozen crescents just slide right out, and never leave the fractured remnants of the cube in the tray instead of in my glass.

The only drawback to the Oxo Good Grip ice cube trays are the lids.  They are utterly useless.  Just throw them out and pretend you didn’t pay for that plastic!  Trying to get the lids on when the trays are full results in massive spillage.  Maybe that doesn’t matter with water, but with baby food that’s a real pain.  So instead of trying to stack them on top of each other, we rearranged the shelves a bit to make space for trays to sit level, uncovered and side by side until completely solid.

Our freezer is still set up this way since the trays have part-time work, freezing stock and wine-reductions now that the baby food days are a distant memory.

This cocktail however is not a distant memory.  Cheers!  Time to put new trays on the cabin shopping list for next year.

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Musing about how The Child eats jump-started my writing, especially after we began eating goat at home.  It was the first time we ate goat we prepared ourselves, and the first time we purchased meat directly from a farm.  A positive experience, we were encouraged to search for a regular meat-CSA to join.

Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a food distribution model wherein the consumer and the farmer share the risk and rewards of farming.  Typically a subscription, the consumer pledges a monthly rate for a share of what the farm produces each month.  While it is more common to find fruit and vegetable CSAs, the demand for meat and dairy is on the rise.  Consumers typically seek out CSA food in an attempt to eat local, support small-scale agriculture, or obtain organic products.  They may also supply a greater variety of products, as well as heirloom produce or heritage breeds.

Singing the praises of Godfrey Family Farms is long overdue.  We experimented and signed up for a monthly share at the start of the year.  Having no idea what to expect, we planned to re-evaluate after 6-months.  Honestly, I thought by June our freezer would be bursting, and it would prove to The Spouse that our family was not large enough to justify the 15 pounds of meat each month.  We do not have sufficient square footage for a deep freeze of our own.

But I was wrong.  I love it.

One Saturday morning each month, The Spouse drives to a Home Depot parking lot to fetch our share of the monthly meat.  It runs $100 for approximately 15 pounds of various cuts from various beasts, including fresh eggs.  Rose and Brian Godfrey are remarkable.  They write a blog to keep folks posted about happenings on the farm, and have a Facebook Fan Page as well.  They both have a way with words and wit.  Back in January, I read their post about geese including photos of Thanksgiving…

…looking through the fence at Christmas…

…and I knew these were my kind of people.

Our traditional Easter dinner is rabbit after all, and we call him Thumper.

As it turns out, we consume most of the share each month.  We even purchase extra;  several dozen more eggs, and additional chickens anytime they have them.  We are thrilled when some challenge of farm living means there are extra rabbits, ducks, or veal bones to be had.

The meat CSA has made a profound difference in our diet and our lives. From the very first shipment of duck eggs with a magical double yolk… to guilt-free pastured veal… and a variety of beasts… Yes, it is safe to say I am biased.

To counteract said bias, I will skip the compulsory review of pros (eating local, pastured, and small-scale), and head straight to the cons of any CSA.  But are they really cons?   Seem more like advantages to me.

You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. My daughter learned this in pre-K, and it is a rule many adults could stand to learn.  When you join most CSAs you do not typically get to place orders.  And if you do it ought be considered a lucky perk worthy of your undying gratitude, not setting an expectation.

We learned how to meal-plan based on what default produce arrived in a box on our doorstep, and this is really no different. So we have tried new things such as guinea fowl, water buffalo, and duck eggs.  Instead of shopping based on a plan, we plan based on the shopping.  One Saturday each month we gather around the cooler to see what Santa brought us while attempting play a game of freezer Tetris with the frozen blocks.

Please remember it is a farm people!  The animals and crops really do not care what your schedule is, much less your menu.  Sometimes the guinea fowl are too much trouble to raise again.  Sometimes the butcher goes on vacation and instead of pork you get glorious water buffalo from the neighbor’s farm.  Sometimes the momma animals turn out to be less than skilled mommas.   And sometimes the hams, sausages, and bacon come cured by someone else.  We have fallen in love with Rose’s recipes, the Italian sausage and brats in particular, and this is not a con for us.  But it may be for some folks.  If you are particular about what cuts, or which beasts, or what sizes you *need* to have, perhaps this isn’t the right purchasing model for you.

Eating nose to tail. A big part of eating sustainably is eating nose to tail. Philosophically, if you are going to show respect for the animal you are consuming, let nothing go to waste. Economically, if you learn to cook the stuff other people do not want, you will have a wide selection of cheap proteins from which to choose.

It was not our intention to pose the chicken as if it were dancing off stage left. *giggle*

I am confident someone is enjoying the extra bits. (Lucky #$%^&*@!)  And even though Godfrey chickens arrive intact from beak to toes, most of the regular shares do not include offal.  When a family of three buys 15 pounds of meat per month, it reduces our trips to the grocery store.  That puts a dent in how many times we pick up braunschweiger or headcheese for lunch, have calf’s liver for dinner, or discover we like new things like veal kidney chops.

I miss my butcher. Well, not a particular butcher per se.  We predominantly shop at Lunardi’s Market, since the Andronico’s near us went out of business (pout).  It is an average-sized traditional grocery store with a meat counter, and a veritable army of butchers.  They appreciate questions and are quick to ask someone if they don’t know the answer.   I have never been ignored or hustled along.  The Child always loves to visit them.  Since infancy, she has been accompanying one of us, helping to pick things out, watching all the action as the butchers break things down, and fascinated by the various meats hanging from the ceiling.

Approaching this calmly as a reality helped her develop comfort and understanding of what lands on her plate.  But we spend less time visiting the local butchers now that our freezer is packed to bursting once each month.

Maybe it is time to figure out where to put the deep-freeze after all?  The Spouse can park his car in the driveway, right?

Okay, maybe not.

Skillet Sausages

Cast iron skillet (optional)
Bratwurst, bockwurst or favorite sausages
Onions, sliced in half, then in half-rings
A favorite beer or hard cider

Brown the sausages and add the onions tucked in around the edges, i.e. don’t just layer them in on top.   Open up a favorite beer to enjoy and share with the skillet.  Every once in a while check to see that things aren’t sticking.  When they do, add some beer and use your tongs to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Skip the bun, serve with mustard and a side of sauerkraut or coleslaw… or both!

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No foodie should preach about sustainability and local agriculture without taking a serious look at their own pantry.  We have been getting organic grocery delivery of local produce for many years now, and I find it well worth the drawbacks for our circumstances.  Recently, we joined a local meat CSA (community supported agriculture) and drive once a month to a predetermined drop point to pick up our share of the monthly meat.

But if Vidalia onions are in season you can bet I am going to select them over the local ones, and I cannot function in the kitchen without my spice drawer which hails from all over the world.  All across California wine country there is a movement to drink local.  That’s great.  Support your community.  But I hardly think Napa would like to encourage restaurants across the country to only drink local.  In fact the story of their success depends on worldwide exportation and is a fabulous example of local agriculture makes good for a community.

So recently when I opened the pantry looking for a quick and easy side dish I saw the quinoa, which hails from *checks package* Bolivia.  Hmmm… dinner is going to have a big carbon footprint tonight kiddo… Except of course these things are all relative.  Quinoa packs nutrition, history, and socially-responsible agriculture into a tiny grain.

Technically, quinoa is not a true grain or cereal.  Botanically speaking, Chenopodium quinoa is a chenopod (like beets, spinach, or chard) and can also be consumed as a leaf vegetable, although it is predominantly grown for its edible seeds.  Originating in the Andes, it can be grown at altitudes over 13,000 feet.  And although it can also be grown on fertile plains with the benefit of mechanization, this contributes to soil erosion.  But the mountain crops are both easier on the land, of better quality besides, and are hand-farmed by small-scale communities.  The quinoa I purchase is produced by a cooperative of small growers and is sold through Alter-Eco, a fair-trade product distributor.  I prefer their Red Quinoa and choose to purchase it from Amazon in bulk.   It qualifies for Amazon Prime free shipping, and is cheaper per bag ($5.67/1 lb. bag) than the bulk price offered by Alter Eco online ($6.49/1 lb. bag).  You may not be certain you want eight pounds of the stuff right off the bat…  but I think the variety of recipes available on the intertubes these days will provide a multitude of inspiration.

The National Association of Quinoa Farmers (ANAPQUI) was created in 1983 in order to maximize the revenue of local communities who were selling at a loss. The Anapqui cooperative currently regroups 1100 small producers from the south of the Bolivian Altiplano who now benefit from decent living wages, transformation and packaging facilities. The latter, partially funded by the United Nations Development Program, enables them to export directly without having to rely on middlemen. The profit from sales goes towards financing educational and training programs that have led to the introduction of organic farming methods. -- Alter Eco website

Quinoa is a low-maintenance crop as the seeds have a coating of saponins.  Saponins are nifty plant-derived chemical compounds. They are amphipathic glycosides, so they have both hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (fat-loving) qualities.  Saponins all share the same phenomena of foaming when shaken in aqueous solution, and some saponins were historically used as soaps.  Most importantly to quinoa, saponins tend to taste bitter.  Awful enough that crops are typically safe from birds, insects, and other foraging animals.  After harvest, the saponins are removed before consumption, and most quinoa available in the US comes ready to prepare.

Quinoa, together with potatoes and maize, were hugely important to the Incas and other pre-Columbian civilizations.  To the point of being sacred.  It is considered a complete protein, that is to say it has a balanced set of essential amino acids including the oft-missing lysine, which is very rare in plants, and according to the package I purchased, one quarter cup serving contains 160 calories, 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 20% of the daily recommended intake for iron.  There is solid nutrition science behind why this stuff fueled Incan armies.

Confession

To be quite honest, I forgot it was in the pantry.  I started buying it years ago when a friend was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, back before the food industry started catering to the gluten-free niche market.  I really only ever made one recipe:  Quinoa Taboulleh from Cooking Light.  It worked well as a gluten-free dip alongside hummus, or as a side dish to roast lamb.  I usually I made it for a crowd.  I skipped the raisins and went with parsley over mint.  And I shortened the cooking time to the package instructions of 15 minutes so it didn’t go all mushy.  Back then I bought red quinoa in bulk, but we have since diversified our gluten-free offerings as more and more friends receive their diagnoses.  So the last few packages had quietly hidden in the back of the pantry until I opened it up last month assuming I would take the easy out and just boil up some pasta.

Epiphany

While the fennel and onions bubbled away on the stove I read the package instructions.  Add rinsed quinoa to water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Well that is about the same time commitment for pasta, so why not?  I find rice tricky because you have to cover it and not peek, but this simmers uncovered.  It cooked up just as it said it would, and as they absorb the water and burst there is a tell tale curlicue on each grain letting you know they are almost ready as the germ separates from the seed.  I mixed in some frozen corn, about 2 Tablespoons of salted butter (the butter is key if I want The Child to eat it without complaint!), and some fresh grinds of black pepper.  I would have added other things and played more, but it was time to eat.  It was under 30 minutes from the time I opened the pantry looking for pasta to the time The Child and I sat down to quinoa for dinner.

Quinoa and The Child

Much like discovering how easily farro could replace the desperation pasta meal, it was a revelation to recall just how quick and easy quinoa is to make.  While we ate I remembered one of the reasons quinoa had fallen out of favor around here.  It was not very baby or toddler friendly as a standalone dish for our family, as the individual grains were sometimes difficult to swallow.  We had a similar baby-gagging experience with couscous.  Mixed with something mushy, like hummus, tiny grains are easier for small children to eat safely and keep from sticking to everything.  In fact at our recent re-entry dinner The Child decided that mixing it with the fennel and onion mash was a more convenient way to eat it, instead of chasing the frustratingly itty-bitty grains around her plate with her spoon.  We each had seconds and stored the leftovers in the fridge.  Later in the week we discovered the leftover quinoa and corn worked very well mixed in with salsa and scooped up with tortilla chips, as well as making an excellent omelet filling with melted cheese.

During my health issues this spring The Spouse made another huge batch.  At first to help address the residual anemia post blood transfusion (between quinoa and meat and iron supplements recommended by the doc it cleared up within a few days), and then post-surgically to get more fiber and, um, let’s just say combat a challenging side effect of the pain medication.  This batch used up our leftover vegetable broth in place of the water for added flavor.  We had it stirred into cold chicken salad and salmon salad.  Alongside scrambled eggs for breakfast.  As a side dish at dinner served much like wild rice.  But the clear family favorite was mixed into salsa.  One post-hospital dinner consisted of a jar of salsa and red quinoa mixed 1:1, homemade guacamole, and Tostitos Scoops.  The Child was thrilled to “just have snackies” for dinner, and I welcomed the opportunity to nibble while healing.

Salsa for Dinner

Before we were married, my mom and her friends hosted a wedding shower.  I reluctantly agreed on the condition that there would not be any silly games.  That request somehow got lost in translation and there were, in fact, silly games.  One of them involved each person giving a gift getting to ask me any question they liked about The Soon-to-be-Spouse.  At one point someone asked what his favorite food was.  I didn’t really know what to say, but I answered, “Chips and salsa.”  There was much derision, but it was true.  Comfort food at the time often centered around a bag of chips and and a bowl of adulterated salsa.  And sometimes that became dinner.  And now we get to share that pleasure with The Child without any worries about the meal being insufficiently nutritious.  Time to make some more quinoa.

Photo by Randy Mayor for Cooking Light

Quinoa Tabbouleh from Cooking Light

Yield:  5 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup coarsely chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or parsley
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Stir in tomato and remaining ingredients. Cover; let stand 1 hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

CALORIES 182 (24% from fat); FAT 4.8g (sat 0.6g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.1g); IRON 3.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 31mg; CARBOHYDRATE 31.6g; SODIUM 259mg; PROTEIN 5g; FIBER 5.3g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 1999

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I have to sing the praises of the Baby Björn Safe Step.  It should be on the registry list for every expecting mom.  There is a long list of reasons why seven years later I now own, hmmm…  count ‘em, FOUR of these step stools.  Mind you I did not purchase all four at once, but they are so versatile for our family that it is still a functioning item around the house.  Just today I used one to put groceries away in the pantry and save my blown-out back from the strain of reaching high shelves.  But I am getting ahead of myself.


Baby Björn Step Stool Progression of Usefulness

When I was pregnant, I was obsessed with ensuring successful breastfeeding.  While I still think nursing was the right choice for us, after watching intelligent women I care about driven to drastic measures and worked into a frenzy over what to do when it doesn’t work, I question how much of an advantage nursing is when compared to a devastated mom.  The process of bringing an infant home is already fraught with so much stress and sleep-deprivation, do we really need to string parents out more and assign blame when it simply isn’t working?  But that’s another post.

I read somewhere that having a step stool to prop up feet while nursing would help, and it really did.  Independent from the foot-rest that came with our nursing chair, I used the step stool a lot.  It provided a variation of positions, and when I got tired of walking The Child to sleep I could sit down with my toes upon the step and gently bounce the swaddled bundle to sleep on my knees.  I justified the purchase at the time with the knowledge that toddlers need a step in the bathroom at some point, so worst case I was just planning way ahead.

The Child at 16 months showing off the bottom grippy bits of the Safe Step.

For bathroom use, it is awesome.  The rubber strip in contact with the floor on the Baby Björn Safe Step ensures it stays put, and the tread provides traction regardless of bare feet, socks, spilled water, or the inevitable jostling with other kids.  Toddlers are wobbly on their own feet.  Climbing onto some cutesy, personalized, slippery wooden step stool seemed precarious at best.

It is small enough to tuck away easily when sharing a bathroom with grown-ups, and the plastic is very sanitary and easy to clean.  When combined with the Baby Björn Toilet Trainer, it meant there was no need for one of those little messy portable potty things.  The Child was adamant that if she was going to abandon what seemed like perfectly viable diaper technology, that she was going to only use the grown-up toilet.  One of these step stools in each bathroom made it easier to clamber up there safely.  Even now that toilet training is a distant memory, her smaller friends use the step to reach the faucet when washing up.

At a titch over a pound, it is light enough for small children to move it around as needed.  And while ours are all white, they now come in a variety of colors.

As toddler years progressed into big kid years, this step stool works well to help her stand at the kitchen counter and help cook.  It gives her more leverage when taking on chores requiring she reach the bottom of the kitchen sink, like washing veggies.  And at seven years old, she uses it to reach things in her bathroom medicine cabinet like nail clippers and lip balm.

The Child peeled some eggs over the sink and then made some egg salad for lunch.

Very early in this progression, we discovered an unexpected use.  The Dog loved it!  A medium-sized pooch, he first used it to peek into the bassinet to check on the coo-head.  But oh the possibilities!!  With only one window facing the street side of our condo, he could now look out the window comfortably to keep an eye on the neighborhood without putting his feet on the windowsill.  Clearly I had to invest in one just for him.

Admittedly, now that The Child is seven years old, I no longer have the need for so many.  But they do nest very well (in a stack at The Dog’s favorite window in fact), and kids use them to sit around the coffee table and play.

And now I find myself using it to reach pantry ingredients!  It handles my adult weight just fine, and it is light weight enough for me to fetch from the living room when I need it.  The more substantial step ladder we own is fabulous, but it is down a flight a stairs and heavier than my injured spine will allow right now.

Inevitably everything has some drawbacks.  It is only six inches tall, so be mindful of how much of a boost your kid is going to need for a given task.  The Child has always been tall for her age, and we have not yet updated the bathrooms to ADA compliant height toilets, so perhaps it is not enough of a step up for some.  There are a few complaints on Amazon about it being tippy;  however, in the seven years of use here we have never had a kid, ours or any other, fall off the thing.

Overall it has been a fabulous purchase for The Child, The Dog, and for us.  I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a little step up.

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Our family is on a bit of an adventure. The Spouse travels a lot for work. Once in a while I hop on a plane with him. This time we decided to take The Child with us and embark on a trip to Singapore together.

Excitement abounds, and jet lag as well, so this will be short. Flying for 22 hours with a 6 year old was daunting, but it was made easier by a gift from one of the parent volunteers at The Child’s school. The gift of gummy bears made depressurization for an already stuffy kid easier, staving off tears. I never would have thought to bring them and wanted to share the tip. Thanks Mrs. B!

The kid was a trouper and managed the flight as well as I did. Much gratitude for The Spouse’s mileage upgrades, video iPods, and amazing service on Singapore Airlines.  More to come, but first a nap…

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Having previously written about pointless forks and perforated spoons, I received an inquiry regarding the effectiveness of suction cup bowls.  I doubt suction cup technology has advanced much since The Child moved beyond that phase.  We did have one.  And it did work for us, albeit with a few provisos.

The Child used the Baby Cie Suction Bowl

The suction cup bowl worked best for us on the seamless granite countertop.  So long as the suction cup and surface were both clean and a bit damp it worked on the wood kitchen table, but it stuck longer and better on the smooth stone countertop.  Our granite has few occlusions, and that contributed to an excellent seal where textured surfaces might have been problematic.

Most importantly, it worked for us because of what I didn’t use it for.  I did not relinquish the spoon to The Child unless she could manage honest and focused attempts to get the mush into her mouth.  Until this happened, she was not in control of the bowl full of mush either.  So our suction cup bowl was predominantly for finger foods.

We did not use the suction cup bowl, or any utensil, as a toy at mealtimes.  The suction cup provided a good defense against accidentally knocking niblettes off the counter, but if a kid wants to get the bowl unstuck to play with it, they will.  Probably quickly.  If The Child attempted to remove it, I would remove it for her.  I would pour the contents into a different bowl and dole out bits directly onto the counter.  So in that respect, it helped to calmly teach table manners very early while reducing mess and drama for all of us.  I never tested the bowl for unattended eating, since choking concerns kept me sitting with her anyway.

Overall, the suction cup bowl was a useful but unnecessary tool, and I see no reason to own more than one.  Being hand-wash only to keep the suction cup from warping in the dishwasher, I did not want more than one piling up on the counter anyway.  Once The Child learned to keep dishes in one place in front of her, she graduated to other bowls.  But she still asked for this particular bowl because of the cute animal print.  Plus, she thought the suction cup was cool.  I can’t argue with that.  Suction cups are cool.  Which is probably why I bought the thing in the first place.

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