Like favourite childhood scars, food aversions are deeply personal, often come with a backstory, and are ripe for comparing with others. This is classic ice-breaking conversation territory in the west, where there is no shortage of foods to happily loathe without risk of malnutrition. When I was little, being the only one in nursery who didn’t partake in the free milk (yuck!) made me feel special. Taking refuge under my aunt’s dining table, during a particularly smelly cheese course, gained me so much attention that the event has become family lore.
Part of the fun of food-aversions chat is trying to explain them. People sometimes deduce that I’m allergic to dairy but I can eat cheese and the likes of gooseberry fool until, ahem, the cows come home. To get to the bottom of it, I call the psychology professor who has all the answers in this field, Paul Rozin of the University of Pennsylvania. Only, it turns out that, as far as most idiosyncratic aversions are concerned (the commonest type of food dislike), there are no answers.
Rozin and Jane Kauer, also of Pennsylvania University, are working on a paper that involved surveying nearly 500 people about their hatred of, say, raw tomatoes or white foods. Most had no idea what sparked these aversions, but they tended to have started in childhood.
Read the whole story: The Guardian