How Do Kids Decide What Foods They Love and Hate?

I do not eat a lot of sweet. That’s not to say I never take in any sweet at all — I could possibly murder a few parts of licorice suitable now, or some toffee — but I didn’t consume a great deal of candy in my young days either. I was not uncovered to truly great sweet when I was rising up. There was not a wonderful assortment of high quality dim chocolate, for illustration, in southern Indiana in the ’70s. Circus peanuts that experienced the texture of dried paste, sweet corn that tasted of sluggish dying, really hard candies in the milk glass on my grandmother’s buffet that had been sitting down there due to the fact the Roosevelt Administration, these are the nightmares of my early a long time, and all I had. 


As soon as a 12 months all through Christmas, I would get chocolate-pecan turnovers and that was unique and uncommon. The relaxation of the yr was a minefield of yucky sweet with Halloween becoming the significant holy holiday break of inedible sweets, other than for the occasional Skor, which I dug. I was the kid who actually hoped for the apple to be dropped in my bag. 




My rapid loved ones didn’t know what to do with me. When you are a kid, you never have a great deal in the way of collateral that may well offset the damage of effectively-intentioned relatives who want to give you some thing. Your household will give you what they feel you ought to like, not what you would like, and this is an crucial difference. They are striving to advise your preferences centered on what they know, and are taken aback, if not outright hostile, that you may disagree with what they are offering. That you may favor a ham sandwich, not a handful of lollies. They ponder, “How can that be? Everybody likes those people.”  Possessing a alternative is not a privilege that is conferred wantonly on a baby. If it was, I hardly ever would have worn everlasting press clothes and I would have requested my steaks rare. All those were being my mother’s selections, not mine. 



Most of the household that I understood when I was a little one, I realized in special strategies. They had nicknames like Dots or Cookie. Or they wore brown slacks with black boots that zipped up the aspect. Some ended up truly fantastic at jingling the change in their pocket and offering out a dollar here and there, or they smelled of Blessed Strikes, or had been adept at nickel-dime poker. A fortunate couple of them could pop out their phony teeth to shock my younger intellect. Most of them are now dead. When I was minor, I seemed up to them in awe. They have been just exhausted and labored far too tricky and talked about baseball and discount coupons, and fussed at every single other and handed out crappy candy to the young ones. 





Each 12 months, some of those distant family members on my mother’s facet designed their way from the Virginia coast to southern Indiana, toting the contemptible confectionery regarded as salt h2o taffy. These dainty parcels ended up dispersed with a kind of reverence that should really have been reserved for a saint’s relics, not a tender, waxy, pastel crayon, in shades not observed in the Midwest. My mother’s cousins would hand out salt drinking water taffy in silence as we young children seemed on in heightened expectation. Perfectly, all the children apart from me. I appeared on in revulsion and dread, an unwitting recipient of some dim family legacy. Acquiring a bag of salt water taffy was akin to currently being handed a record of sins that realized no forgiveness. Wasn’t there some other treasure to be flown around from Virginia? Prawns, barbecue sauce, blue crabs? Any of these foodstuffs would have sufficed, even to my 8-yr-previous self, just about anything not to have the bag of salt drinking water taffy gradually calcifying in my space for the next fiscal quarter. 


While my palate and encounter had been constrained, I experienced started out to have an understanding of — in the most rudimentary way — the pleasures of feeding on. I loved mushrooms, barbecued ribs, crab, late summer time tomatoes, sweet corn, inexperienced beans, fried catfish, and items like mayonnaise. I recall striving anchovies for the 1st time, bone marrow, brains, and being enthralled, riveted even. My own preferences experienced started out to mature, and I was thrilled, while I was a extensive way from being aware of it and —- it was obvious to me — my personal family members would be receiving in the way of this maturing.





I am admittedly a bit of a curmudgeon. The fastest way to get me to reject a thing is to inform me how anyone else is executing it, which honestly should really have been a form of a dream situation for my mothers and fathers. How lots of childhood arguments had been missing centered on the illogical statement, “every person else is undertaking it.”? Anyone jumped off the cliff, but I did not, and not simply because my mother warned me but mainly because I pulled back on my individual, unwilling to join the lemmings lined up for catastrophe. This has been the continual in my lifetime, to be the outsider when it comes to popular new music, hip films, awesome apparel. I like to maintain again a bit, assess, and make my have selections. Even now I am a supply of consternation to my good friends for the reason that I absence particular apps or won’t concede to paying for a distinct smartphone. This is why I thought of salt water taffy to be around-hyped and gross, a solution of a sweet shyster. 



This is the exact same way I believe of fudge, chocolate-coated cherries, and s’mores. The notion that my family members would go googly-eyed about salt water taffy was additional than adequate to make me despise it. The implorings, the threats, the lack of comprehension, “just try out it,” they would say, oblivious that I experienced experimented with many, a superior sample sizing as far as I was involved, and required no far more of it. That and the fact that my household never manufactured good selections when they had been strike with coastal sun and beach front. They would get their pink toes into some white sand, wander along the boardwalk, see some schlub in a window creating salt drinking water taffy and all motive would leak out of their bodies. They would soften – like the taffy alone – and imagine of some nostalgic time in their past that under no circumstances existed, and uncover themselves compelled to enter the store and acquire some. 


Head you, they did not just order “some” for them selves, no. They experienced to get household luggage of the stuff so they could proselytize to the bad saps back again residence in Indiana who had been suffering from deficiency of solar. See right here, what we discovered? This minor little bit of heaven ideal on the beach front? The victims of this largesse would be picking the taffy out of their teeth for months and pondering when they could toss the rest of it in the bin.




It has been some a long time now considering that somebody has forced salt h2o taffy on me, and I have not observed some of all those kin for a long time and many years. I suppose their distance can be attributed in element to my eventual honesty about the stuff: “Make sure you, no, I have under no circumstances favored salt drinking water taffy.” Or chocolate lined cherries. I at last came clean up to my father a number of decades again when I returned 5 containers of the un-eaten minimal sugar bombs, describing to him that it was much better to set cash on hearth than to go on paying for these for me. The hurt — when you return something to anyone or refuse a gift — is palpable, as if you’d questioned the fabric of their existence, or desecrated some sacred chamber of their childhood. That is easy to understand. You haven’t allowed them to shape your taste and they truly feel hurt. 


Above the several years as I grew and figured out, I blamed salt water taffy for other misfortunes this sort of as failing calculus, lacking CD’s, an unfavorable final result of a sporting occasion, all the fault of salt water taffy. But, right after all this time away from the stuff and not getting given a considered to salt drinking water taffy in ages, and getting reconciled those people thoughts in just, a new problem has emerged in a mate who is convinced I can increase to adore salt h2o taffy. She surreptitiously hid a box in my apartment, which I located forthwith. It was simple to discover it has an disagreeable aroma, a ghastly colour, a vile texture. I regarded it for a even though with a sense of nostalgia, not for some bygone time, but for the kid I was, standing strong in the experience of strain to just “consider a person.” Be sure to save your funds, I have in no way liked salt water taffy, and in no way will, and deliver me a ham sandwich. I know what I like.