hello! I'm not Aitch but I thought I'd stick my oar in anyway.....
In our case DS spent most of the first few weeks mouthing and playing with food anyhow, so ready or not, very little was going in.....certainly not amounts that would upset a very nearly ready gut. We waited till the magic six months though, and in fact DS really wasn't ready for food in any large amounts until about 10 months.
Don't know about why not tomatoes - grated apple was interesting, mostly played with although some sucking went on, we found very ripe pear and very steamed carrots worked best as first foods. it's the right season for lovely pears, too!
don't see why not cheese, although it's quite sticky on the mouth, so not sure how well it would go down. rice cakes are brilliant.
I'm not aitch, but know that some people hold off the tomatoes as they are common thing to be allergic to.
I gave grated cheese, pasta twists good - easy to hold and sauce clings to them well.
DS's first taste was when he sat on my lap a bit before the magic 26 weeks and I accidentally let him knaw on my banana, I think a smidge went through as it turned up in the nappy next day... He's 2 now and is a banana fiend.
DS2 has had toast, thanks to DS1, but just gummed it til it fell apart and I noticed He also has raw carrot for his teething but two teeth have just cut through so surely the choking hazard is worse now as he can tear things rather than just suck them?
DS only gagged a couple of times and it was over before I could get panicked. I didn't put the harness on his high chair so I could haul him out and turn him upside down easily, but never had to really.
I think you can tell when they're really in trouble. And if you're careful with using soft food to start off with (steer clear of raw apple unless grated) there's very little chance of them choking.
They get good at the chewing thing pretty quick.
Raw carrot a bit dangerous as well, if they've got teeth, so I always steamed until really soft.
It's worth knowing the difference between gagging and choking tho - if they seem to be having trouble breathing, go pale/blue etc, then it's choking and you need to remember your basic first aid stuff.
Mostly however, it will be the red in the face and retching, which although a bit scary the first few times, is just a natural reaction. DS still v occasionally does it now, mainly when he's tried to deep throat a banana.