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Stop Trying to Feed Your Kid Stinky Cheese
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Honestly, it's probably not the best idea to try feeding your child stinky cheese, because why would you waste perfectly good cheese on someone who won't have it with wine? But in case you're even tempted to share some with your kid (but, why?), here's science to dissuade you.
According to a new study, children tend to have larger reactions to unpleasant smells, with generally neutral reactions to smells like strawberry and vanilla.
French researchers found that French children typically like strawberries and vanilla, and began to experiment to see what smells babies react to. The study, published in the journal Flavour, rounded up some babies 8 months, 12 months, and 22 months old, and tracked their response to eight different odors. Half of the smells were pleasant (apricot/peach, apples, vanilla, and strawberry), while the other half was composed of unpleasant odors (trimethylamine, with a strong fishy odor; 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine, like green peppers; dimethyl disulphide, rotting cabbage; and butyric acid, or bad butter/eggs).
The researchers found that infants were more able to discern the terrible, unpleasant odors. As in, give them something that smells like rotten eggs and they would probably cry. But pleasant odors like strawberries? They won't care.
Of course, babies' taste preferences do change drastically in the first two years of life, oftentimes affected by exposure, but this study suggests that babies are more wired to avoid strong-smelling foods, despite whatever they may have been exposed to from their food-loving parents. "From the earliest age point, infants also manifested avoidance responses that appeared to be stable across ages, suggesting a pattern of early olfactory responsiveness that is plastic on the pleasant side and both predisposed and plastic on the unpleasant side of the perceptual space," the researchers say. So the takeaway? It's totally fine if your kid isn't taking to caviar. Calm down.
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