Determined to experience the world through his daughter’s taste buds, our reporter spends a whole day eating what a Japanese baby eats.

Despite the inordinate amount of immaturity in our office, some members of our staff actually have children of their own. About a year ago, our Japanese-language reporter Ahiru Neko and his wife were blessed with a daughter, and he’s spent the time since working hard to be the very best dad he can be.

Part of being a good parent is being able to see things from your child’s perspective, but Ahiru Neko recently realized there’s a gap in his understanding that occurs multiple times a day, because he has no idea what her baby food tastes like. Sure, he picks out things that sound tasty enough, but really he’s just guessing, since he’s never eaten them himself.

That’s something that needed to change, he realized, and so he decided to spend an entire day eating the exact same things as his baby daughter.

Ahiru Neko’s days start bright and early, as his daughter wakes him up daily either by cooing, or pounding on his chest, at around 6:30 a.m. “I haven’t had to use an alarm clock since she came home from the hospital,” he says, and after getting up, it was time to get breakfast ready.

Father and daughter would be dining on selections from Japanese baby food maker Wakodo’s Eiyo Marche (“Nutrition Market”) series, many of which have the word “lunch” in them but can be eaten at any time of day. So to start the day, they were having the Japanese-style Kids’ Lunch consisting of maitake mushroom rice and sukiyaki-style stew.

The Eiyo Marche series comes in cups and can be eaten either as-is at room temperature or after heating in the microwave, making it handy not only for at-home meals but for days out with the family. It’s meant to be eaten with a spoon, but Ahiru Neko made no move to grab one. Why? Because his daughter isn’t old enough to feed herself yet, so in the interest of keeping their eating experiences identical, neither would Ahiru Neko, and instead his wife would spoon-feed him, just like they do their child.

▼ Ahiru Neko’s wife was filled with admiration at her husband’s dedication to their daughter and his job, and also with concern for his questionable amount of sanity.

So how did it taste? A lot better than he’d expected! Ahiru Neko had been bracing himself for a bland, mushy mass, but both dishes were pretty good. The sukiyaki-style stew had a nice hint of sweetness to it, and the maitake rice had a pleasant chewiness. Both were milder in seasoning and softer than for-adult versions would be, but neither tasted bad, even for his grown-up palate.

After breakfast, the rest of the morning was devoted t going for a walk outside and play time, which helped Ahiru Neko and his daughter build up an appetite for lunch: The Meat and Potato Curry Rice Lunch.

▼ Yep, Japanese curry baby food!

The curry was the biggest surprise yet. Obviously it wasn’t spicy, but there are mild curries for adults in Japan too, and this tasted just like one of them. It’s genuinely delicious, and if someone had told Ahiru Neko this was curry in a cup, and not necessarily baby food, he’d have believed them.

The other half of the Meat and Potato Curry Rice Lunch is potato and tuna gratin (gratin being a popular baked pasta and cheese dish in Japan). This had a hint of sweetness similar to the sukiyaki-style stew, but overall was sort of lacking in flavor by grown-up standards. Still, as something to scarf down before the very subtle flavor becomes tedious, it wasn’t bad.

Since little kids have little stomachs, Ahiru Neko’s daughter usually has a mid-afternoon snack, so at 3 o’clock it was time for a Haihain calcium biscuit.

From its appearance, Ahiru Neko imagined that this was a crisp, salty snack, but it turned out to be just the opposite, with a mild sweetness and a soft texture so that babies who might not have all their teeth yet can gum them.

Since Ahiru Neko’s daughter can eat this one with her hands, Mom got a break from feeding their two mouths. However, this caused a problem when Ahiru Neko’s daughter realized that with a little strong-armed robbery she could potentially double her snack supply for this afternoon.

▼ Yoink!

6:30 was dinnertime, which on this day was the Japanese-style Hamburger Steak Lunch, composed of a hamburger steak and rice with wakame and shirasu (seaweed and young sardines).

With the shirasu rice, Ahiru Neko was once again impressed with how close it tasted to for-adults food. As he’d come to expect, it was pretty light on seasonings, but with a sprinkle of salt he’d happily eat it as part of a normal meal. He felt largely the same about the hamburger steak, which had the sweetness he’d come to know from the sukiyaki and gratin, which he felt would make a satisfying snack for adults with meaty cravings.

And for dessert: Morinaga’s drinkable Vegetable Gelatin.

This is actually a 50/50 fruit/vegetable mix, but while it’s got a juice-like sweetness, it’s the vegetable flavors that make the biggest impact. It was delicious, but also tasted like something really good for you, the sort of thing an adult might drink if they’re trying to improve their nutritional balance.

▼ Again, Ahiru Neko’s wife got a much-needed break from feeding the two of them.

Ahiru Neko was happy to learn that the things he’s been feeding his daughter do indeed taste good, and the more he thought about it, the more he realized she’s actually eating classier stuff than he is a lot of the time, especially on the days when he’s gorging himself on giant plates of fried food or guzzling dirt-cheap alcoholic energy drinks.

▼ Honestly, he could learn a lot from her.

Oh, and for anyone thinking that Ahiru Neko’s job of living like his daughter is only half finished, since he hasn’t reached the end of the digestive process yet, he’s already done the research, first-hand, on which brands of baby diapers are the most comfortable to pee in.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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