While past generations of parents had no alternative but to make their own baby foods, the introduction of jarred food changed the way American mamas fed their children. Pre-made food gave parents the flexibility to grab and go, and boasted certain health benefits that made moms and dads feel safe, so it makes sense that it became the mainstream method for feeding tots. But the organic movement and concern over the foods we give our children are changing the pureed food trend.

The Washington Post recently interviewed Nina Planck, whose book, Real Food for Mother and Baby outlines the benefits of introducing babies to table food as soon as they start solid eating. According to Planck:

"What we're seeing now is a well-informed group of people who seek out whole foods for their children. They're not yuppies from red states and blue states. There are lots of working mothers who choose to do this because it's healthful and because it's economical."

The trend is even bringing parents who do not even cook for themselves into the kitchen. Chefs from around the country are offering baby food tutorials, demonstrating the basic process for preparing first purees and chunkier mixtures, as well as providing recipes that don't look like anything found on store shelves. The executive chef of one DC restaurant held a seminar that resulted in recipes for green beans with mint, curry chicken and Mexican beans and rice, while another restaurant chef is preparing to release a book of gourmet baby purees including poached halibut with peas. Not exactly what Gerber serves up.

Would you prefer to introduce your tots to decadent food purees or the simple ones found in basic books?