Friday, July 20, 2018

Food Culture

Are we trained to prefer certain foods and stay away from others? Each human can write out a list of foods they like and dislike and it will be uniquely theirs, just like a fingerprint. These preferences change over time and are shaped by our culture, family, and food availability. If a child grows up regularly eating cherry fruit snacks, everything bagels, and pizza, their taste buds have grown accustomed to these flavors and textures. In their future when similar foods are introduced with cherry flavor, saltiness, or the texture of a slice of pizza, they are more likely to respond positively and accept the food. In today's society, it is easy to drive down the road and find restaurants of varying ethnic backgrounds. It is important to introduce these different tastes early in a child's life to broaden their palette. This will become a backbone of taste along with genetic predisposition to sensitivity of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory taste. A child from Mexico or India will grow up more accustom to spices and bitter, salty, and savory tastes. This child may visit Eastern Europe and realize they cannot stand the taste of more bland foods like pierogies and cabbage. However, if they had grown up in an Eastern European country they would be accustom and conditioned to eat these bland foods. The spices of the Mexican and Indian diet would be a shock and could even cause stomach issues from the dramatic changes in digestion. Each culture built their traditional cuisine based upon what ingredients and crops are available in that part of the world. Taste does change over time, and it is not limited to the area an individual grows up in, however it is heavily influenced and passes on genetically for generations.

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Tacos- A Mexican traditional food
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Biryani- traditional Indian cuisine

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Pierogies- Traditional Polish/Ukrainian food


  1. Children taste bud's are a lot more sensitive than adults. As we age, we lose the sensitivity in our taste buds; hence as to why you may enjoy beans now, but hated them as a child. I was a very picky eater growing up, but I now love certain foods that I use to hate. I wish that my mother had pushed me to eat different things as a child, because I am now opening up a can of worms to a whole new world of food. I agree that it is important for parents/ and or guardians to widen their children's horizon when it comes to food culture. It's an important quality to be open minded and accepting to a variety of cultures.

  2. Also, as we age, certain foods that we enjoyed as children and teens may have unpleasant consequences as we age, like spicy foods. When I was younger, I loved very hot and spicy dishes. Now I can only tolerate foods with minimal seasonings, which opened up a whole new variety of foods for me to enjoy.