The Kidco Food Mill is one of those products that people always ask about. Even the unlikeliest people. "I'm trying to tell someone about the babyfood grinder you recommend - but I can't find it on your blog," my friend Jessica typed accusingly on her Blackberry at her hairdresser's, where she was about to get something called "all natural highlights."
Here, then, is the scoop on the grinder (paraphrased from a recent column): The mill, a fiendishly simple hand-cranked grinder that transforms nearly any table scrap into a pint-sized portion of mush in about 30 seconds, is $15.99 at Happybabyproducts.com.
I've been a big fan of the grinder since my first baby got a tooth sixteen years ago, but only recently learned the product's history from Karen Maassen, Happybabyproducts.com’s founder, who one day a few years ago received a package of information from the wife of the inventor.
Ms. Maassen emailed me an excerpt from the material: “In 1956, in Spring Valley, Illinois, Dick Bowland, an inventor and product designer by trade, got together with a physician and surgeon named Dr. Jacobs who had sons of his own who wouldn’t eat commercially produced baby food.
“Together, Bowland-Jacobs designed and manufactured the first grinder. … Up against a population of mothers that had been pre-sold on commercially prepared baby food, it was a hard idea to sell, but they were determined to promote the concept of fresh food. … They also had some help from nutritional experts of the ‘70s who began making public statements about the added salts and sugars contained in pre-made baby food.”
And, Jessica? I'm still waiting to hear about how the hair turned out.