First Bite
May 4, 2019 10:49 AM - by Bee Wilson - Subscribe

In First Bite, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson draws on the latest research from food psychologists and neuroscientists to reveal that our food habits are shaped by a host of factors: family and culture, memory and gender, hunger and love. Taking the reader on a journey across the globe, Wilson introduces us to people who can only eat foods of a certain color, an anosmia sufferer who has no memory of the flavor of her mother's cooking, and researchers who have pioneered new ways to persuade children to try new vegetables. An exploration of the surprising origins of our tastes, First Bite shows us how we can change our palates to lead healthier, happier lives.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (3 comments total)
Yet another in the Bee Wilson writes about food series, but this one is more about us then the food. An interesting look at how we eat and why we like or are repelled by food, with interesting digressions into the science of eating. Speaking as someone who was a picky eater as a child with many food hates, this book was something of a revelation, as to why I might have been this way, and why I changed as an adult. There is also a good section on the history of why certain groups ate what and when in the past, such as why women were restricted from protein in the Victorian age and such. There's even a section on how to get young children to get over their pickiness, and the science of that. Bee Wilson is the Mary Roach of food, and this book is a treat.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:54 AM on May 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I read this a couple years ago now, so I don't recall many specifics, but this is a really interesting book. There was a section about when babies are most open to new tastes and it was surprisingly young - maybe around 6 months?

I was never a particularly picky eater, and I thought this book did a great job of getting into how difficult that pickiness can be for the picky eater. It definitely increased my empathy for people who have to deal with multiple food aversions.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:24 PM on May 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I found this book a really interesting read, particularly as I read it as my first child transformed from a baby who would eat anything to a toddler with random food aversions, seemingly overnight. It gave me hope, as someone who is the opposite of a picky eater who really wants to teach my son to eat well. I think it did it did a good job of balancing the two competing threads I hear all the time - that you can completely control how well your children eat by doing x or y vs. that there's nothing you can do and you might as well just give up. I think the message that yes, you can train your children to eat well, but it will be slow and may not work was really useful.
posted by peacheater at 6:21 AM on July 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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