The First Meal

Elsa had her first meal of solid food a couple of days ago! Luise made her potato mash with a splash of oil and water. It was a big day for her and also for us, now we can start to make her our own all-good baby food. Although it seems like everybody have their own opinion on what kind of food is good for babies and children.

– Surely you will give Elsa normal food, a friend recently asked me. And with normal she meant meat, dairy products, gluten and sugar. She is not the only one. Another comment that we heard a lot of lately is that children doesn’t like vegetables but love meatballs and hot-dogs, so we would have a lot of trouble raising her without eating meat. I have just recently realized that most people actually believe that the way they eat is The Right Way. And our way – not eating meat, focusing on whole foods with a low intake on dairy products, gluten and sugar – represent some kind of diet that is good for you for a while, but not in the long run. Well, we believe that the way we eat is all-good for our bodies and that everybody probably would feel better cutting down on meat as the centre piece of the dinner and focus a little bit more on whole foods and vegetables.

With that said, it would make us feel very strange not giving Elsa the kind of food that we believe is best for her. Call me naive but I believe parents who complain that their kids won’t eat whole foods or vegetables have a lot to blame on their own eating habits. But if we fail I promise that I will be the first to admit it. And if Elsa some day decides that she wants to try a hamburger with her friends, we will be totally fine with that.

Maybe this could be mistaken for a convert-to-our-way-of-eating speech, it’s not. We have no problems with other people eating meat or not giving their kids vegetables, everybody must live after their own beliefs. Just as we do.

This soup is not for Elsa, not yet anyway. We were inspired by the Tuscan bean and bread soup Ribollita, and wanted to make our own version of it, replacing the bread with barley and the cannellini beans with these beautiful borlotti beans. When the soup was done we had changed so much that we decided not to call it Ribollita. But it is just as good, and more nutritious. Scroll down for the recipe.

Barley & Bean Soup
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
2 spring onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 small carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 bay leaves (can be replaced with sage)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 glass white wine
8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup pearled barley
1 zucchini, cut in quarters
10 cherry tomatoes, divided in half
2 cups fresh green beans
1 cup fresh borlotti beans, removed from pods and preboiled for 20 min.

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and add onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, rosemary, bay leaves, lemon juice and white wine and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock and let it cook for 30 minutes. Add barley, zucchini, tomatoes and let it cook for another 25 min. Then add green beans and borlotti beans and let it simmer for 10 more min. Remove the bay leaves and add salt and pepper. The soup is done when the barley and the beans are done. Serve with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs.

Photos by: Johanna Frenkel