Poor babies. Not only are infants forced to shit their pants, but they have to eat puréed fruits and veggies—"baby food"—for dinner. Ick.
But if you are a baby—or a parent who cares which variety of crap you shove in front of your kid—the Mercury's here for you! We dutifully tasted a fancy organic variety from Whole Foods, a basic brand that our own parents fed us back in the day, and some homemade mush. May the least disgusting contestant win!
Fancy Organic Baby Food
Earth's Best (20 cents per ounce)
The Mercury's adventurous (and blind) taste testers did not like the organic, wholesome gourmet baby food. And they didn't mince words, either. Comments on the pale orange carrot concoction ranged from, "Is this carrots and wax? It makes me want to die!" to "Tastes like raw sewage. I'd totally feed this to a baby just to watch it squirm," and "Tastes like rotten."
The pear variety did a little better: "Stomachable," and "It gets points because I didn't have to chew it." One tester noted, however, that the pears left a "horrible aftertaste. Like chemical waste. It's still swilling around my taste buds three minutes later." Only one tester (out of nine) picked this baby glop as the best—Music Editor Adam Gnade, pictured here, who begged colleagues for what was left of their pear samples.
Homemade Organic Mush
Organic carrots (10 cents per ounce)
Organic pears (37 cents per ounce)
Making baby food is freakin' easy! Wash produce, chop, toss in steamer, purée.
But the Mercury's taste testers were ho-hum on the homemade food. The carrots were "Chunky, bland, and blah," and "Gritty—but sufficiently bland and suitable for a four-month-old!" Gnade, who had previously hogged the fancy organic pears, also gobbled up the homemade carrots: "Tastes like real carrots! Good texture."
The homemade pears—the priciest goop in our test—also got tepid reactions, like, "least flavorful but mildly refreshing," and, "this had purfume-y chunks in it surrounded by watery slush." But another tester—who didn't have a single kind word to say about any of the other baby food in our test—gave the homemade pears his blessing: "Delicious! I would eat this every day were it not for society's inhibitive and closed-minded restrictions."
Gerber (19 cents per ounce)
Surprisingly—or maybe not, given our childhood familiarity with the goopy substance—Gerber baby food easily won our taste test, earning a near sweep in the carrot category, and tying with the homemade pears.
Several testers noted that the carrots—which were, admittedly, "too brown"—were reminiscent of pumpkin pie, while others guessed (incorrectly) that this was the homemade variety. Others raved: "Bunnytastic! Good texture, smell, and taste. I might spread this on a peanut butter sandwich."
The Gerber pears—while not as popular as the carrots—garnered a few compliments, like "tastes real, if too sweet" and "Quite good! I'd eat this 24-7." One tester summed up all the baby food best, though, with this note on the basic pears: "Bland. Still delicious. I heart baby food."