Sunday, March 20, 2016

Foodie Reads 2016: Roasted Garlic and How We Learn to Eat

Here's the first book I'm logging for my March Foodie Reads 2016 Challenge.  First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson.* Wow, three-quarters of the month is gone. It's been a busy month so far, I guess. I'm looking forward to two weeks away from the normal grind with the boys on Spring Break.

As a parent, especially a parent whose stated mission in life is to create conscientious eaters with fearless palates, this idea of 'how we learn to eat' fascinates me. People have always asked, "How did you get your kids to like _________ [fill in the blank]?" Throughout the years, friends have watched my boys with incredulity as they pluck chard from a garden and just start biting...dirt and all.

I have always believed that, just as I trained my kids to eat everything, parents are training their kids to be picky eaters. Just stop. Barring a true food allergy or sensitivity, I don't tolerate pickiness. My attitude remains: when you're hungry enough, you will eat it. And, when you've eaten it enough times, you'll probably learn to like it.

On the Page...

I first encountered social historian and food writer Bee Wilson through her book Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat which examines the evolution of cooking, and the implements needed for cooking. I think I might have to re-read that soon. And I was reminded of how much I liked her writing when I heard her being interviewed on NPR about this new book release. I went straight home and ordered a copy of the book.

First Bite: How We Learn to Eat is a more personal kind of book as she details her own eating disorder and that of her sister. She writes about how tastes are determined by both nature and nurture. And she confirms what I've always thought: babies in utero are already "tasting" food that the mother eats. Similarly, what mothers eat affect how breastmilk tastes. So, for instance, if a mother eats a lot of garlic, a baby will grow accustomed to garlic through the flavor in the breastmilk and - more than likely - love garlic, too.

I decided to share a recipe for roasted garlic as that process softens garlic's bite. Even my self-professed vampire will eat more than one clove this way. Obviously, my mother-in-law didn't love garlic as much as I do!!

Roasted Garlic

  • large heads of garlic
  • olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice 1/4" off garlic heads to expose cloves.

Place garlic in small baking dish, cut-side up; I used a garlic roaster.

Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until garlic skins are golden brown and cloves are tender, approximately 1 hour. Let cool. Squeeze garlic cloves from skins.

Recipe suggestions: blend into butter to place on top of cooked steaks or baked potatoes; use it in place of garlic in any recipe

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else is reading this month: March 2016 Foodie Reads Challenge.


  1. Really interesting. Makes sense that picky eating mothers would foster picky eaters, but this makes it sound like it is more nature (in utero) than nurture.

    1. True. But it's a chicken-egg kinda thing, right?

  2. Another reason to nurse your children. It helps develop their don't get that with formula. I also think that making your own baby food for them, using whatever you are having that day for dinner, helps to develop a healthy palate.

    1. I did use a food mill for all of my first son's food. The second son got jarred food. Organic, but still jarred.

  3. It surprises me that more parents don't make their kids eat everything. It would make their lives so much easier in the long run. My mother made me eat whatever was for dinner. I'm not a short order cook was her mantra. But now she caters to my niece and nephews' every food whim.