I’m a little bit behind on my blogging; I finished book #62 while I was out somewhere in a park, and knowing that I would finish it soon I had the forethought to bring book #63 with me so I could begin reading right away. All of this goes to say that I’ve been done with #62 for a while and should be done with #63 very soon.
So a few days ago I finished a fascinating book called First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come out until December but I highly recommend reading it when it does – it was a really informative read.
I’ve always loved reading about food, but Wilson made it especially easy to digest (HA!) First Bite is essentially about how and why our tastes are the way they are, and whether or not it’s possible to change them. She challenges a lot of common approaches to food and diet, including the belief that our food likes and dislikes are innate and unchangeable. (SPOILER: they’re not.)
Wilson begins with the infant/fetus, and considers how mother’s diet affects a baby; she then moves into the first year of a baby’s life, and what happens to their tastes during this period. Wilson chronologically covers a person’s life in terms of food and the way they may connect to it at that time.
She also talks about disordered eating, including the more commonly known eating disorders but also covering extremely selective eating (i.e. those people who can only eat things like pizza and forms of fried potatoes, and can even be moved to vomiting when they’re in the same room as a vegetable.)
All of this food discussion in the book is to ultimately say that it is possible (albeit difficult) to get humans to change their diets in a healthier, longstanding way. Wilson argues that through several different methods, we can teach our bodies to enjoy and even crave healthier foods rather than soft drinks and sugary sweets.
One more thing I loved about this book: each chapter was concluded with a little over a page about a specific food. For example she used beets to illustrate a point about developing tastes from childhood to adulthood. It was so effective at driving the point of the chapter home. I’m sorry you can’t read it yet but when it’s released, I highly recommend you do.
Also, if you’ve recently relocated to an insanely expensive city and can’t afford half the foods you wish you could eat, this book is a wonderful alternative actually enjoying those foods. ◊