A Matter of Taste


Have you ever wondered why you hate the food you hate? 

The clinical term for “gagging at the sight” of certain foods is “Food Aversion”; doesn’t describe the reaction, or the reason for the reaction.

Not surprisingly, childhood experiences are high on the list of why we dislike some foods. There are both funny and disturbing anecdotes about food aversions are often based on what kids to kids.  One individual’s aversion to bananas was based on a practical joke done in a school cafeteria in Junior High. A schoolmate suddenly seemed to “barf” into his lunch bag in front of a friend and then showed him the contents. It was merely a bag of mashed bananas, but from then on, he could never get rid of the connection between the “barfing” and the bananas.

Childhood memories make strong impressions on our likes and aversions. Childhood bullying and “practical jokes” often affect people long into to adulthood. This is often true for people who grew up in poor families or with large families.  Poverty affects a child’s eating habits far into adulthood, and many aversions stem from eating the same food day after day consistently for every meal.  

Unfortunately, parents are often responsible for their children’s later adult phobias  but essentially  forcing  food down their throats:  “Don’t leave the table until you eat everything on your plate!” That not only turns what should be an enjoyable family ritual into an ordeal, it can also lead to eating disorders later.

Food aversions can also develop in adults, usually by too much contact with food. Restaurant workers often develop food aversions; and some ice cream parlors who allow their employees to indulge as a ” fringe benefit”; yet after a few weeks of indulgence, those same employees won’t touch a sundae.



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