Fortnum & Mason Food Book of the Year 2016
We are not born knowing what to eat. We all have to learn it as children sitting expectantly at a table. For our diets to change, we need to relearn the food experiences that first shaped us.
Everyone starts drinking milk. After that it’s all up for grabs.
We are not born knowing what to eat; we each have to figure it out for ourselves. From childhood onwards, we learn how big a portion is and how sweet is too sweet. We learn to love broccoli – or not. But how does this happen? What are the origins of taste? And once we acquire our food habits, can we ever change them for the better?
In First Bite, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson draws on the latest research from food psychologists, neuroscientists and nutritionists to reveal how our food habits are shaped by a whole host of factors: family and culture, memory and gender, hunger and love. She looks at the effects siblings can have on eating choices and the social pressures to eat according to sex. Bee introduces us to people who can only eat food of a certain colour; toddlers who will eat nothing but hot dogs; doctors who have found radical new ways to help children eat vegetables. First Bite also looks at how people eat in different parts of the world: we see how grandparents in China overfeed their grandchildren, and how Japan came to adopt such a healthy diet (it wasn’t always so).
The way we learn to eat holds the key to why food has gone so disastrously wrong for so many people. But Bee Wilson also shows that both adults and children have immense potential for learning new, healthy eating habits. An exploration of the extraordinary and surprising origins of our taste and eating habits, First Bite explains how we can change our palates to lead healthier, happier lives.