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Munchkin Baby Food Grinder vs. KidCo Baby Steps Food Mill: Which gadget makes the best baby food? A Babble.com Face-Off.

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Our eleven-month-old bundle of joy shows no intention of ever growing teeth, so we were grateful for the chance to test these handy dandy little grinders. The Munchkin is prettier – it almost (almost) looks like a fancy vase on our counter – and doesn’t require any assembly. That’s a big plus when you’re as mechanically inept as my wife and me. Then again, the KidCo isn’t exactly NASA designed. It only has five parts, which I was able to fit together in about that many minutes. It also has a nifty torquoise carrying case, which doesn’t go with most of my wardrobe, and which might seem sort of over the top, until you consider that your average food mill – unless assiduously cleaned – can grow pretty rank. Please trust me on this, people.

That said, I honestly couldn’t discern a difference between the KidCo and the Munchkin. They serve the same basic function: turning solid food into mush. (In many cases, a fork would serve you just as well.) They even have the same size holes in their grating devices. The one food group where these mills come in especially handy is meats, such as chicken or turkey, or ground beef. But really, “break down” doesn’t quite paint an accurate picture. What these machines do is extrude tiny worms of food, Play-Doh style. If your child is young enough to be spoon fed, and you’re determined to avoid getting fleeced by the folks at Gerber, both these suckers will do the trick. But buyer beware: once your child reaches the age where she wants to feed herself (as ours did, at about six months) these devices are worse than useless. Because at that point, your nifty homemade baby food becomes edible paint. – Steve Almond

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