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Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  620 ratings  ·  78 reviews
For nearly 15 years, Cynthia Lair's iconic cookbook Feeding the Whole Family has been the source for parents who want to cook one healthy meal for the entire family, including babies. Feeding the Whole Family starts with the basics of creating a whole foods diet, from understanding grains and beans to determining what meats are acceptable to eat. Lair then applies these ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 15th 2008 by Sasquatch Books (first published 1994)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Beth Bender
This book is an excellent example of why many people are overwhelmed and put off by the thought of whole foods. I consider myself pretty crunchy, and I use mostly whole foods cooking for my family, but I thought most of the recipes in this book were just plain weird.

I took issue with her liberal use of sea vegetables. Okay, maybe they are good for you and part of the reason the Japanese diet is so healthy. But I live in the Midwest. It would be completely ridiculous and environmentally
...more
Inder
Apr 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: domesticarts, cooking
Obviously, I'm very pro-whole-grain and fruits and veggies, so this seems like the kind of book I would like.

But I was immediately turned off when, reading her section on infant nutrition, she recommended home-made formula with raw milk. What? That's just downright scary. She's putting babies' lives at risk with this sort of advice.

Frankly, raw milk is not safe enough for babies. Unless the cows are maintained in impeccably clean conditions, it's easy for a little fecal matter to get into the
...more
Hawley
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been great, albeit a bit heavier on the fall/winter meals than on spring/summer eats. I've used a lot of the recipes and many have become staples: particularly the Middle Eastern Falafel (we make it almost once a week now and I've shared it with TONS of friends who've loved it, too!), the "Cream" of Asparagus Soup (using oatmeal to make it creamy instead of actual dairy), and the Lemon Tahini Dressing. Some really spectacular recipes that are really well laid out: clear, fairly ...more
Charity
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: moms with young children, people who want to eat but don't want to spend a lot of time cooking
Shelves: favorites
I borrowed this book from a friend who borrowed it from another friend. The cover is well-worn and torn in places, so I knew it must have been well-used (always a good sign in a cookbook, I think).

We have tried several recipes from this book and have loved every one of them. The recommendations for meal planning are realistic, nutritious, and affordable. There are food sensitivities in my family (to gluten and dairy) and these recipes are mostly GF/CF (except for the baked goods) and those that
...more
Anna
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The cover has a picture of an adult and a child preparing dandelion greens. If that is what you're looking for, I bet you'd love this book. I feel very fortunate that we do not have to eat dandelion greens, and I didn't find much to like in this book.
Marianne
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I trained with Cynthia Lair at Bastyr University in the Pacific Northwest while becoming a dietitian. She is a highly educated woman dedicated to researching and staying up to date on current nutrition trends. She is particularly well versed on the journey foods take as they're being processed. Cynthia's use of sea vegetables and lifestyle recommendations such as mindful eating as part of her recipes are certainly not conventional. And her recommendation of using raw milk should be prefaced with ...more
Hannah
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This encouraged me to feed my family even more whole foods and less prepared food. Pretty good recipes.
Elke Ursin
I loved this book so much that after my checkout time with the library expired (which was pretty quick because it seems like everyone wants this book) I just had to buy it. I still need to make the recipes in the book, but they look so yummy and healthy! I go to an Asian market every week and will totally be taking a slow stroll down the sea vegetable isle. I love simple things that you can add to a meal to increase the nutritional value. I also really liked the illustration in the book about ...more
Katie Cole
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, really is a great resource for me. I am just starting as a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm and am reading this book in preparation for my first veggie box. I love that this book explains a bit of the history of a particular food, how it developed as an edible, nutritious food through out history, and also explains a bit of the science behind it (without being overly technical) and lastly, how you can prepare it for everyone in the family (even young children and ...more
Principle Based Learning
(recommended by Kathleen)
In this book you will have the pleasure of reading astute food philosophy along with rich tasty recipes that are responsive to your challenges as a parent. It’s unusual, yet so rewarding to find a cookbook that includes the breastfeeding years, early food for babies and tips for feeding children. And there are menus! The book is very comprehensive and that is comforting. What we need as parents is just one book, a guide. Feeding the Whole Family is that guide.

Click here
...more
Bethany
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to eat right
I absolutely love this cookbook. I am single, and I just ignore the baby food instructions. The recipes are usually very easy to follow. You might have to make a trip to Whole Foods for a couple of unusual ingredients or spices but once you get it you will use it in a lot of the recipes. I rely on this book for helping me to detox and avoid processed foods. Everything is pretty good leftover too. My favorite recipe is the Red Bean Quinoa Chili. I also like Curried Lentils and Cauliflower and Red ...more
Christine Cato
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cook
This book was lighter on content and heavier on recipes than I expected, but I ended up liking it. A nice guide for how to include whole foods. What is cool about the recipes is that at the bottom it tells you what to do to make the recipe ingredients appropriate for babies/ kids. Also a good introduction to things I didn't know I wanted to know more about - like sea vegetables and sugar that isn't sugar.
Abby
Oct 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this cookbook. If I had to choose just one to own, it would definitely be this one. All of the recipes are amazingly easy to make, healthy, and delicious. Seriously, I find it hard to not gush about this book to everyone I know, and I've found myself on the author's blog more than once raving about different recipes. Lair includes recipes and tips for cooking for babies, but even if you don't have kids, get this cookbook! It's amazing.
Amberjean
A basic whole-foods book, nothing terribly revolutionary. Could be good for families with young children, perhaps. It has some of the common flaws of the moosewood-ish genre of cookbooks: every other dish is based on a cooked-grain mush, and tamari, shoyu, and the ubiquitous "sea vegetables" are applied liberally in every section. That said, there were good basic directions for handling vegetables and fruits, including some simple, tasty, and oft-overlooked stuff like dried-fruit compote.
Julie
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, food
what an incredible book! as our baby is beginning to share more and more of our meals, i really need to make sure those meals are as healthful as can be. this book helped by inspiring and motivating me and by offering many good suggestions for using more whole foods in my cooking. it contains many wonderful recipes for porridge, applesauce, bread, granola, hummus, etc. as well as a lot of helpful information about buying, storing, and cooking whole grains.
Aimee
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, cooking
This is a cookbook I go back to time and time again. It is my favorite, even though I have a few favorite recipes in it, and haven't done as much exploring as I should. I use the bean and rice cookery section the most, for cook times, ideas on what to do with the leftovers and how to use different beans that I am not used to cooking. My son loves the recipes in this book and so does my husband!
Danna
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009-2010
This book helped our family as we made better food choices, indispensable really! I have given copies as gifts many times and recently bought the new edition as mine had fallen apart from all the love!!
Caution: a couple of our favorite recipes are not in the new edition and a few recipes are changed a bit!!
When ever I want to entice my sister to come over I tell her we are having the red bean and quinoa chili. She always shows up!!
Sandra Kimmet
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got the new edition and it is a great book. I heard about it from a mom in my playgroup who worked on editing it. She highly recommended it, and it is a great book. It has some great ideas for quinoa and lunches. I love her checklist to use when you shop. It is easy to follow and totally kid friendly.
Marisa
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Michael Pollen's books. After reading his books I have often felt that I had all this great knowledge about the way I should be eating, but don't know how to implement it. This book has the information on what we should eat, along with recipes so we know how to implement it. I haven't tried the recipes yet, so I'm giving it 3 stars. If I like the recipes, I will raise my rating.
Kristin
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the ideas from this book on how to feed your family, even your new babies whole foods--grains, vegetables, all kinds of options that don't come from a box, can or anything else that's processed. And, it looks like it's going to be very reasonable--money wise too. I'm excited to have more options in the "wheat-free" baby diet!
Bernadette Emerson
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I cannot say enough about how this book has helped me in my understanding of different ways to cook with whole grains. A great book to help with simple preparation of veggies and including younger children in your meal-planning.
Rebecca
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book for anyone interested in creating great meals from whole foods. Delicious recipes, great ideas for introducing whole foods to kids, and I find the recipes easy to fall and meals easy to create.
Meryl
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
I checked this book out because the summary on Amazon said it was about feeding the whole family whole foods. It's really about feeding kids whole foods. Which is fine, but not really what I was after.
Siona
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book, amazing teacher! Lots of great whole foods recipes. Every recipe I've made is delicious. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning how to cook healthier well balanced meals. Great ideas for moms and babies too.
Wilder
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I got this out from the library and now I will buy a copy so I can get it all messy! This is just what I was looking for in a cookbook. The first section on food information and food politics was also very good. Simple and to the point.
Gail
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
Great book for anyone curious about the benefits of eating whole foods. Her recipes are a bit bland for my taste (probably due to gearing them toward children), but with a little extra seasoning they are very good.
Jasmine
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love her ideas: moderate but still healthy. Also, amazingly good, healthy recipes. Opened my eyes to some new ingredients. Great for moms but good for anyone who is attempting to both eat healthfully and yummily.
Jessie
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookery
Good information, tried several recipes and they were fine although I once again feel like there's a real conflict with wanting to feed whole foods and having a full time job. We take shortcuts because we simply don't have time to prep everything from scratch.
Jessica AKA Riley
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those looking to add more veggies to their daily regimen
This book was recommended to me because my son has a number of food issues and it provides recipes for healty, substantial meals that are easy to make and uses ingredients that are relatively easy to get at a normal grocery store.
Jen
Apr 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, cookbooks
This is an excellent book, and I think if I used it to cook for my family, we would be just overflowing with health and happiness. But I am so not ready to add Tofu Kale Supper Pie, Hijiki Pate, and the entire recommended sea vegetable food group to our menus. Maybe one day?
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