CM 027: Bee Wilson on How We Learn to Eat

Blog Post - Bee WilsonWhy do we love certain foods? What role do families and memories play in our tastes? How can we help our children to eat well and wisely? While we may think our food preferences are innate, most are learned when we are young. And that also means we can change our preferences if we choose.

In her bestselling book First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, Bee Wilson helps us rethink everything we thought we knew about eating. Bee is the author of four books, a writer for The Guardian & the London Review of Books, and the BBC Radio Food Writer of the Year.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • how our food likes and dislikes are less about biology and more about learned habits
  • whether children know instinctively how to eat healthy foods
  • how our home environment shapes our preferences
  • why children reject new foods and how to get them to eat a wide variety
  • the fascinating role of schools in influencing our eating habits
  • how to change the types of foods that we like
  • the role that gender plays in the formation of eating habits
  • choices Japan made to change its eating patterns
  • how we often overlook the single biggest influence on our eating habits

Bee also speculates on how our healthcare systems could improve our health and save billions of dollars by teaching how to eat.

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned


Bee Wilson

Consider the Fork

First Bite: How We Learn to Eat

Clara Davis


Food neophobia

Lucy Cook

Tiny Tastes

Keith Williams and Tiny Tastes

Karl Duncker

Julie Mennella



Eating in Post-War Japan

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