Sunday, 27 September 2015

Rafferty's Garden: Spinach, apple, broccoli and pea

Today, I think I've finally stumbled upon the secret to making a top selling baby food.  Simply write down all the fruit and vegetables you can think of on separate pieces of paper, add a couple of grains if you feel fancy, or a few super foods if you feel particularly pretentious. Write 'apple' and 'pear' down on a few more scraps. Put all the pieces of paper in a hat, then draw out three or four. Mix them up in a big blender and put them in tiny little sachets. Wait for the dollars to roll in.

There is little other reason that a lot of these combinations should exist. I've written at length several times about the complete waste of putting traces of wanky foodstuffs such as quinoa and wild rice so minuscule that there is no way they can possibly impact on taste. Yet food manufacturers persist in these strange combinations that have no other business existing. Acai berries in baby purée is pretty much like having a parliament containing a member of a party voted for by 0.075% of the population, just for the sake of the representation of self-important cockatiel-lookalikes who enjoy wearing bow ties, and that we can have a pretty purple seat on the schematic representation of the House of Representatives, despite underneath everything him being nigh-on impossible to distinguish from the opinions of the rest of the centre-right.

Anyway, today's offering was one of these bizarre combinations, and with the grand contribution of 4% spinach, I wasn't holding my breath for a leafy flavour sensation.

Ingredients: Apple (70%), Pea (18%), Broccoli (8%), Spinach (4%)

Here we see the first trick in baby food manufacturing. We all know a true combination of broccoli and spinach would taste revolting, certainly to anyone under the age of 65%, and force feeding would likely be the quickest way to loose the trust of your 4-8month old. But people like the idea of eating healthy, and of giving their offspring what they perceive will be good for them, so these are precisely the ingredients they want to see in their baby's purée. So Rafferty's Garden gives them these vegetables, but in amounts which surely will have no impact on the taste of a food the contains 70% delicious apple. Really, a waste of space.

First impression: This food is really green, and as I'm pretty sure I've stated before, green is seldom a colour you want to be putting in your mouth in a puréed form. Pond weed again? Slimy bird poo? Whatever it is, the spinach, broccoli and peas are certainly making an impression colour wise, if nowhere else. Lowers my expectations,  if nothing else.

Emily's reaction: She actually really likes this one. Not as much as the traditional fruity favourites. Certainly nowhere near as much as Rafferty's Garden's other amazing offering, the Apple, pear and cinnamon. But half the pack is gone reasonably quickly, and even big brother trying to force feed her his lunch can't put her off.

Bouquet: Strong and sweet, this is apples on the nose all the way. Do broccoli and spinach even smell? If they do, I wouldn't want to smell them in a baby food, so the fragrant hints of Royal Gala and Red Delicious were a pleasant surprise on this one. If only it tasted this good...

Taste test: Initially, like the bouquet, the apples predominate as this pleasingly smooth mush rolls back down the tongue. However, as it reaches the back of the palate, the leguminous nature of the pea component lends slight nutty hints, which in her after the food has long disappeared down the oesophagus. This gives the overall impression of a smooth, but not sticky, peanut butter: not truly repulsive, but something that would definitely be an acquired taste. I had predicted the spinach and broccoli wouldn't make much impression past the colour, and it turns out I was right.

Overall: 5.5/10. An unusual combination of ingredients seemingly thrown together in a haphazard fashion give a slightly unexpected taste, which grows on you over time I guess.

Enjoy: as an alternative to mushy peas in your Friday night fish dinner

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