What did your mother eat while pregnant?
It may not be what mom cooked, but what she ate that determines your food preferences. At least, babies get to taste-test in the womb:
“Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint — these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother’s milk,” says Julie Mennella, who studies taste in infants at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.
And tasting a food in utero seems to predispose a baby to like it. It works that way in rabbits, so Menella divided a sample of human moms into three groups. One drank carrot juice all through pregnancy, one drank it while breastfeeding, and the third avoided carrots. And so, the carrot-exposed babies like carrot-flavoured cereal.
To test flavour transmission to the womb, moms swallowed garlic pills just before a routine amniotic fluid sample was taken. Then a testing panel gave the fluid the sniff test. Maureen O’Connor, on Gawker, objects:
…sniffing vials of garlic-flavored amniotic fluid is the second-grossest thing I have imagined all day. Grossest thing: Spending nine months floating in sea of garlic-flavored amniotic fluid…
Did your mother crave a certain food during pregnancy, and did she pass that on to you?