Bee Wilson’s book First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, is required reading for parents. We are not born knowing what to eat. We all have to learn it as children sitting expectantly at a table. For our diets to change, we need to relearn the food experiences that first shaped us. It is there that we develop our passions and our disgusts, our ideas about which flavours go with what, and how big a portion is. Growing up, we define ourselves through our tastes.

Food is fundamental. Rarely however do we think about the rituals around it. Each meal is loaded with meaning. As this book demonstrates, foods can be associated with praise and blame, reward and retribution, even if unintentionally so. Drawing on research from nutrition science, anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, economics, literature as well as her own experience, Bee Wilson shows that for our diets to change – as well as educating ourselves about nutrition – we need to relearn the food experiences that first shaped us. 


For Pirouette readers who enjoyed reading about healthy family eating habits, young food activists and at schools what ends up in our kids’ lunch boxes, this ultimately optimistic book deserves a place at the table.