Remember when you were blackout drunk and – I’m sorry, I mean, remember when you were a baby and your mom would act like the spoon was an airplane and fly food into your mouth? You’d flail your arms about wildly for God knows what reason while your mom made engine sounds, and then you’d finally gobble up your food when she came in for the landing, dribbling a little purée on your chin for good measure.
Yes, those were the days, when chewing your food was optional and work was finding ways to reach things you weren’t supposed to grab. Just thinking about it makes me feel like I need to be burped.
Probably no product epitomizes baby food more than Gerber, now a subsidiary of the almighty Nestlé empire. Gerber got its start in 1927 in Fremont, Michigan, when Daniel Gerber got the bright idea to add easy to eat and digest baby food to his canning company’s product line. It was a quick success, and though the Gerbers no longer own the company, all production is still Michigan-based, and Gerber baby food is now sold throughout the world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a baby in Beijing or New York City – there’s a decent chance you’ve eaten Gerber. The sketch of the delighted baby on the can has even become a part of our universal consciousness.
Now, look – I don’t write about anything without having experienced it firsthand, and Gerber is no exception. (And no, if you were wondering, my infantile experiences with Gerber don’t count.) So I went out and bought some Gerber Banana Baby Food and ate it. I figured it would be like a little treat. I love bananas – hell, you might even say I go ape over bananas – but I can’t eat raw bananas. Well, I can, but for me it’s like French Kissing a homeless prostitute. My mouth gets all itchy and breaks out in gooey, puss-filled canker sores. It’s just not fun. But if a banana has been cooked or processed in any way, I don’t have any reaction to it. Go figure.
The package for the Gerber Banana Baby Food has microwave directions, so I warmed it up. Though truthfully I thought I wouldn’t like it, it actually tasted exactly like a banana smoothie, although the consistency was closer to pudding. The 10 seconds of cooking time gave it a wholesome feel. All in all, it’s not a bad snack, and at only 60 calories a serving with no added sugar, it’s pretty healthy. Now I know why that one kid that lived down the block from me was still eating Gerber when he was seven. I thought he was just weird, but this stuff is like the world’s best kept secret. Why don’t babies tell us?
Then again, I’m still pretty sure that Gerber’s strained peas are disgusting. I hate peas normally, let alone strained. That probably ruins it for babies, when the gaga googoo transitions from meaning “more, please” to “fuck you, buddy!”