Food Dislikes & Eating Habits: Nature or Nurture? Texture or Taste?

From a young age I can recall those fussy eaters in the school canteen. There was a class mate who couldn’t have any of the food on his plate touching, or he simply wouldn’t eat anything (not an uncommon behaviour I soon discovered).

Are food dislikes and eating habits similar to personality, a nature or nurture matter? Or a combination of both? 

As I watch my nephews and niece grow up, their eating habits do vary somewhat at different ages, having their own personal likes and dislikes. Recalling my own childhood food memories, being one of five children, we had no option to be fussy. If we didn’t eat the food in front of us then we didn’t eat. My parents couldn’t afford to have alternative choices. 

As someone who eats pretty much anything, except Olives, I’m fascinated and amused by people’s food preferences and eating habits. Here are a few of those gathered from family, friends and some of my followers, including a few interviews for the most interesting cases!

Common Food Dislikes:


One follower informed me of her hatred for peas, and that she has to separate them on a plate away from the rest of her food. However, she loves Pea & Ham Soup! 

Some other food dislikes fed back to me included; Cheese or Onions on anything, Melon & Cucumber, Seafood and Olives (it’s not just me!). Lamb and Goats Cheese were picked out due to their strong flavours, and I have a friend who likes cooked Tomatoes but not raw Tomatoes (the raw flavour being too overpowering for her). 

Foods such as Courgettes and Aubergines were singled out for their ‘unpleasant’ textures, and I know a lot of adults who dislike Mushrooms and Eggs for the same reason. Whilst we’re talking about Eggs, I have to mention the lady who feels guilty eating Eggs, as she feels like she’s eating a baby bird!

The Interviews:

Those who responded with particularly unusual food dislikes or eating habits, I asked a series of questions, to tease more out of them into their weird and wonderful world of food! 

The Dairy Hating Deconstructor:

Name: Terence    Age: 28    Location: Kent

I dislike most dairy foods but not all, for example I like all types of cheese but hate cream, custard and even milk on its own (I can only have milk with cereal). I think it is primarily down to taste than anything else. I’ve had these dislikes since a very early age. My mum had to put blackcurrant in my milk as a baby or I wouldn’t have had it otherwise.

In addition to the above, I have a tendency to take apart certain foods, most notably sandwiches! I will make a sandwich in the usual manner, but then decide to eat the components on the sandwich separately (except for Jam sandwiches!). This also extends to pizzas and roast dinners, eating everything separately, working in a methodical way from vegetables, to potatoes, leaving the meat till last.

I have no idea how long I’ve been doing this for, seems like forever! I wouldn’t say I’m getting fussier the older I get, I seem to have my set dislikes and methods for eating, and these haven’t changed over the years. I quite like the fact that I do things a little different so wouldn’t consider therapy.  

The Messy Cooks Comments: Thanks for your response Terence. Sounds like your eating habits get as messy as my cooking! 

The One Who Dislikes Chocolate:

Name: Angela   Age: 38   Location: Oldham

I have 2 main food dislikes, the first is Coriander, not that interesting as people seem to love or hate it. 

The second however is more unusual, I don’t like chocolate! This wasn’t always the case though. I was a normal chocolate devouring child. When I was 12 years old I became very ill for over a year. I didn’t eat much in that time, and when I had recovered, I found that I no longer liked chocolate. I now find the taste too sickly but the smell is worse. If someone is making chocolate cake or hot chocolate, I find the smell overpowering. 

Cath (the Messy Cook!), posed an interesting question, would I have therapy? No I wouldn’t, I don’t think that my life would be better for having chocolate back in (you might disagree though). There are lots of yummy alternatives out there including our Cath’s Lemon Posset!

The Messy Cooks Comments: Thanks Angela for your kind comments about my Lemon Posset (http://wp.me/p67DA2-a7). I used to live with Angela, an old school friend. Her hatred of chocolate made her an excellent house mate. Being a school teacher she was regularly given chocolate from her pupils, which she then of course gave to me!

The No Potato Diet: 

Name: Abi    Age: 31  Location: Manchester 


My main food dislike is potatoes! I’ve never liked them, although I was made to eat them as a child. The only exception is Crisps! It’s a very awkward dislike to have but the new trend for sweet potato has been a revelation! 

I’ve disliked potatoes for as long as I remember. I used to have tomato sauce with them when I was younger to disguise the taste.

Other than potatoes I’m not a fussy eater. Theres nothing else I really dislike and I love trying new foods. I don’t think therapy would help as I wouldn’t describe it as a food phobia. I will eat potatoes if someone else has made them as part of a meal, just to be polite!

The Messy Cooks Comments: Thanks Abi for sharing your potato dislike with us. I have to agree with you that sweet potatoes are pretty tasty. 

The Debate Continues: 

This topic is so varied as you have read, with taste and texture both a big factor in food dislikes. Some are brought on by childhood illnesses, whilst other dislikes have been there for as long as can be remembered.

Personally, I believe that the combination of both my ‘no nonsense attitude towards food’ upbringing, and my adventurous personality has influenced my attitude towards food as an adult. This has been invaluable whilst experimenting with food on my travels, and I am still hoping to combat my Olives dislike one day! 


x The Messy Cook x 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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