For lunch today I grabbed a smallish carrot from the fridge, peeled it, cut it in half, baked it, then soaked in the cold water while I ran around the house like a headless chicken taking care of business. I wanted to make sure that the carrot was really soft because the idea of a hard carrot chunk lodging in Buttercup's windpipe did not appeal to this first-time mom, thank you very much.
I handed half of the carrot over and Buttercup shoved the whole thing in her mouth (moments after the first photo was taken). It appeared as though she was enjoying herself, as she worked quite diligently to consume much of the carrot. At the end, she'd mangled the second carrot half into two bits and had them dangling from her mouth. I laughed at her and she looked proud of herself, so I had to take a second photo...sorry, sometimes I can't help it. The carrot seemed easier for Buttercup to handle without turning into mush, which was nice. Also, I was too lazy to take her white dress off so I was refreshingly surprised to see that carrot didn't stain her clothes (which cannot be said for carrot puree, that's for darn sure!)
I did notice with a subsequent carrot offering that it is possible to cook the carrot for too long, making it rubbery and impossible to eat...
PROS: easy to gum without being too squishy, shockingly non-messy
CONS: proper cooking is essential