What Kids Around the World Eat for Breakfast – NYTimes.com

What Kids Around the World Eat http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/08/magazine/eaters-all-over.html Neophobia: "evo-sensibly" they initially reject unfamiliar food. Sugar is an exception


Children, and young omnivorous animals generally, tend to reject
unfamiliar foods on the first few tries. Evolutionarily, it makes
sense for an inexperienced creature to be cautious about new foods,
which might, after all, be poisonous. It is only through repeated
exposure and mimicry that toddlers adjust to new tastes — breakfast
instead of, say, dinner. That we don’t put pickle relish on waffles or
eat Honey Bunches of Oats for supper are rules of culture, not of
nature. As children grow, their palates continue to be shaped by the
food environment they were born into (as well as by the savvy
marketers of sugar cereals who advertise directly to the 10-and-under
set and their tired parents). This early enculturation means a child
in the Philippines might happily consume garlic fried rice topped with
dried and salted fish calledtuyo at 6 in the morning, while many
American kids would balk at such a meal (even at dinnertime). We learn
to be disgusted, just as we learn to want a second helping.

Sugar is the notable exception to “food neophobia,” as researchers
call that early innate fear. In utero, a 13-week-old fetus will gulp
amniotic fluid more quickly when it contains sugar. Our native sweet
tooth helps explain the global popularity of sugary cereals and
chocolate spreads like Nutella: Getting children to eat sugar is easy.
Teaching them to eat slimy fermented soybeans, by contrast, requires a
more robust and conservative culinary culture, one that resists the
candy-coated breakfast buffet.


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