A matter of taste

This may seem like an oddball question, but it’s something I’ve always wondered about:

Why do I dislike eating raw tomatoes? (I guess the general question would be “Why do humans dislike eating certain foods?”) Is it a matter of genetics, environmental factors, upbringing, a combination thereof, or just random chance?


Jeez, guys, we can do better than that.

I figure this is most of it. We are all the same species and we mostly agree on the question of whether things are edible or not. I think taste, or more specifically the preference of certain tastes, is an evolved facility to get us to eat what we need (though perhaps TastyKake moved a little too fast for evolution to keep up).

environmental factors
Mmm? You mean, how hot and dry it is will influence whether we want something salty? Seems like the genetic funciton above ought to be situationally responsive, yes. But I’m not thinking of many examples.

Sure. Grandmother’s cooking will matter for many decades to come. But I think these would be pretty minor preferences, like Manhattan versus New England versus Carolina clam chowder, not like bread versus grass.

a combination thereof
Yes, sure.

or just random chance
This isn’t really a category in the same sense as the others, is it? Random chance acting through what agency? Random errors in genetic code? Random experiences in childhood?

I guess by random chance I meant some nebulous “X-factor” at play. Genetics, environment (by which I meant ones home environment growing up – location, type of housing, etc.)and upbringing (by which I meant types of foods foisted or not foisted on one by ones parents) can’t be the only governing principles in determining taste prefs because identical twins sharing the same genes and raised in the same household can develop radically different tastes for foods. For example, I know a set of twins of which one enjoys beer and the other can’t stand the stuff.

Well, I’d like to get my hands around the neck of the bastard who dug a beet out of the ground and decided it was food.

That cursed tubor masquerading as a vegtable still brings back painful childhood memories.