Inherent Culinary Preferences

My son loves chicken fingers, Goldfish crackers (the classic cheese sort, I don’t buy him the colored ones), yogurt, milk, and ice cream.

Except for the ice cream, these are foods that I was neutral about as a child. Chicken fingers, in particular, were not de rigueur in my early childhood–I was old enough to be well aware of the launch of Chicken McNuggets. I never particularly liked any sort of cheese-flavored cracker, despite the proliferation of Goldfish and Cheez-Its that showed up around kid gatherings. I remember complaining about the obligatory glass of milk at meals, although I was willing to drink it if I could spoon in an ungodly amount of Quik powder. (The worst was when we’d have steak for dinner. I LOVED steak, but something about chasing it with a tall frosty glass of milk turned my stomach.) I’d eat yogurt every now and then, but I never asked for it and never got excited about it.

Is there something inherent in these types of foods that makes kids like them? The chicken fingers are particularly insidious; the boy asked for chicken fingers when we returned from a weekend getaway yesterday because he hadn’t had any for a couple of days and he’d missed them. The kid’s gonna be shocked to learn his parents didn’t ever eat these things when they were kids, once he’s old enough to ask about it. I had to “suffer” with PB&J and cream cheese and olive sammiches instead (and I’d take either over a plate of chicken fingers any day).

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