Hi there! I was also very hesitant to allow my 6 month old to just "chow down", and I did puree foods for her at the start. We have no history of allergies to any foods on either side of her family. She was "beyond ready" at 6 months, and we started solids at 6 1/2 months.
I waited 4 days in between each new food for the first 4-6 foods. Then I only waited on new foods if I'd introduced something possibly allergenic, like eggs or strawberries. I started with peas, carrots, brown rice, sweet potatoes, green beans, oatmeal, avocado, apples and pears. I also gave yogurt (full fat Greek-style) at this age. Be aware that apples with their skins on are binding, so I mixed pears and apples for her 1:1 after both were on the menu. Closer to 8 months I added eggs and all kind of legumes. At about that time I stopped pureeing and started just giving her appropriate table food.
Food + babies = awesome. Have a blast!
Edited to add/ I own a blender already, and a food mill, so I never bothered with a baby blender. The only mama I know that did was selling it on Craigslist in "like new" condition before her baby was a year old. Just a thought there.
Hey, another edit here/ I also never bought packaged baby oatmeal or what have you, I whizzed our instant oats and overcooked them, adding lots more liquid. Packaged baby oats cereal and the like isn't strictly needed if you have that adult blender we've mentioned.