There are certain things you can get in Ireland that you can’t in the UK. And vice versa. It’s only natural and to be expected as they ARE different countries. However, since becoming a mum there is one thing I wish would find it’s away across the Irish Sea to the UK. Generally available wherever food is served, it is the one thing mums can rely on when out and about with babies who have been weaned. It is served in pubs, hotels and restaurants, but is generally not advertised on the menu. As long as the establishment has soup and mashed potato on its menu you’ll be able to get it. The name of this staple pub food for babies and toddlers is a Baby Bowl.
A Baby Bowl consists of a scoop of mashed potato and a small ladle of soup, most likely vegetable, put side-by-side in a bowl. Then mum or dad can mix the two together as they wish and feed to their baby when it cools, knowing it is soft enough for them to manage but, if made with vegetable soup, will be healthy enough for their baby to eat.
The availability of baby bowls means mums and dads don’t need to worry about bringing food for their babies with them when on a day out, particularly if they know they are going to stop at a pub or restaurant for lunch or dinner. Most eateries will also provide you with an empty bowl to spoon small portions of the mixture into to allow it to cool quick enough to satisfy a hunger child.
I first came across baby bowls when BattleDad and I did our first bike tour of Ireland back in 2009. We took our Green Meanie (a ZZR1400) home for a long weekend and during that time stayed with my sister-in-law in Athy. Our plans were to travel from there to Galway, to my Dad’s second home, and use it as a base to visit Achill Island and Galway itself. At the last minute my sister-in-law decided to join us with her 3 children. On the way back to Dublin, where we were visiting the registrar to get our wedding the next year sorted, we stopped for lunch in a pub and she ordered a baby bowl for my nephew who had just turned 1. I was intrigued and was surprised to see what it was. But even then I knew a baby bowl made a lot of sense for mums.
Then, when we were home last year for my sister’s wedding, we had lunch the day after the wedding in the pub attached to the hotel and ordered a baby bowl for BattleKid which he wolfed down. Show me a child that doesn’t like mashed potato, particularly an Irish child!
And even better, if the eatery is serving mashed carrot or swede, you can ask for a scoop of that to pack in the nutrients. And it has never cost us more than a few Euro for a baby bowl. So you can see why I really wish it would wing its way across the Irish Sea. A baby bowl makes so much sense and in the case of BattleKid would ensure he ate a decent meal. Even at almost 3 years of age, there is nothing he enjoys more at home than mashed potatoes, so if it were to be offered in eateries in the UK it would be one of the first things I order for him from the menu, even now!