Do we really dislike vegetables or are we taught to dislike them?

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I used to live in France. Then in middle school, I moved to America.

One thing that amazed me was how many of my classmates seemed to dislike spinach. Back in France, kids loved spinach. We used to memorize the dates when the Canteen[Cafeteria] would serve us spinach. My brother (one of the few who didn’t like spinach) has often asked me “why does everyone like that stuff?”
and I would answer “because it tastes good?”.
I’m not exaggerating either; we really did have nearly the entire school waiting on edge for the days we would have spinach.

So why such a dramatic change in taste after moving from one country to another?

The biggest difference seemed to be people’s expectations for us. Back in France, people expected us to like spinach; TV shows would have kids love spinach just as much as they would love fries. We hated Brussel sprouts but we loved spinach, cauliflower, buttered radishes, and grapefruit. Did we have people who hated some of that stuff? Sure. I hated grapefruit. But, as a whole, we loved all of those.

Here in America, I’ve yet to meet a person or see a show or read a book where kids were expected to like spinach.

Could it be that when children don’t have prior experience with certain vegetables, they draw on media before drawing on taste? Is that why we “grow out” our tastes as we grow up? Because we later learn to use our own taste buds, and not just adapt to other people’s expectations?

I don’t have an answer and perhaps I’m over-thinking this. Maybe the difference factor was something as simple as the sauce?


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