Issue 30

Why We Taste and Experience Food Differently?

You have probably heard the term “a fussy eater.” Cooking and preparing food for one such individual can quickly get on your nerve and wear your patience thin. After all, why wouldn’t they just eat what you put on their plate?  While we live in an age where food scarcity is still prevalent, there may actually be an understanding to help you better grasp the science behind why some people don’t actually enjoy certain types of foods. And, like any other behavioral pattern, it mostly goes back to our childhoods.  It can get very annoying to cater to every whim of a person like this but bear with us. There is a good reason why you shouldn’t be too harsh on your loved ones if they refuse to try your food.

Taste Buds Are Programmed in Childhood

It is true. All taste buds are programmed in early childhood. You probably loved doing things as a kid, and some of that stuck. Maybe you loved technology and became a coder. Or, you loved to draw and became a killer 3D artist in the gaming industry, creating great worlds for casino games or even actual video games.  Another scenario is that you loved dinosaurs and studied paleontology. The point is that you are very likely to pursue the things you love as a kind. For more details about games, many children decide to teach themselves coding and drawing.

Alright, but how does this tie-up with food and fussy eaters at all? It’s actually very simple. You have to go back to the root of why we like a certain food and don’t love others. The easiest explanation is – habits. There are several main things to consider here:

  • What did you eat as a child?
  • What emotions did you feel at the time?
  • Why do you not like certain foods?

We have been brought up on certain foods and that is just the way it is. You may turn down the classiest juiciest meals and stick to what familiar meals you had 30 years ago. It’s just the nature of the human psyche. We prefer familiarity over the unexpected.  Of course, some people would tell you that they like surprises, but there are others who do not. Once again, it all has to do with what you have come to like as a child – certain drinks, meals, and deserts are coded into your tongue and you learn to love them. It’s not even loving, though, its lack of questioning the meal’s value.

Why Do We Avoid Meals Then?

The answer isn’t too difficult. It has been proven that one’s reluctance to try a new meal is a linear reflection of one’s personality. Put another way, if you don’t like surprises, and don’t like changes in your lifestyle, you are far less likely to try new meals.  In other words, it’s not just about taste anymore. It’s about what goes on in your head in relation to food – or the thought of certain food. Personalities can play such a powerful role in your choice of a meal. Take for example how we interpret pain. Pain is supposed to be an objective experience.

you are what you eat

You prod someone with a sharp object – they feel pain. Yet, your personality and your attitude towards the world around you may intensify or lessen experiences – whether that is food or even pain. That’s why some people, for example, need more anesthesia than others at the dentist’s office.  As to the food you like or not like something as quotidian as eating cold food as a child might make you averse to that food in the future. It may seem a little out of the ordinary, but experiences have a long and lasting impression on individuals.

How to Deal with a Fussy Eater?

The truth is a good talk with a person as to what they like would be best. First, you have to focus your cooking only on those experiences the person or people you are cooking for relate fondly to.  Then, you can start experimenting. Psychologists argue that mimicry can play a huge role in helping people alter their food habits. If you live with a vegan long enough, you are bound to lessen your meat intake and adopt the vegan’s diet, for example.

You may not necessarily love vegan food at first, but there is all the evidence that plant-based food is just as succulent as the stake you love. It’s all prejudice, as it turns out in the end so, don’t be prejudiced against your fussy eater friends – help them experience new tastes instead.


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