First Bite

Bee Wilson

Eating is not something we are born knowing how to do. We learn it as children, sitting at the kitchen table, being fed. It is there that we develop our passions and our disgusts, our ideas about which flavours go with what and how big a portion is. Growing up, we define ourselves through our tastes.

First Bite draws on current research from both neuroscience and psychology, and the author’s experience parenting three children and visiting numerous school canteens, as well as talking to dieticians, biologists and consumer researchers, to look at where our food habits come from; and what it would really take to change them for the better.

The food we consume over the course of a day – a week – a lifetime – depends on countless glancing choices, most of which are based on preference. And these preferences, in turn, are largely formed by the way we first learn to feed ourselves in childhood. Of all our behaviours, eating is one of the most habitual and repetitive and one of the least susceptible to cognitive reasoning. This book shows that for our diets to change, as well as educating ourselves about nutrition, we need to relearn the food experiences that first shaped us.

Reviews of First Bite

  • ‘When you open First Bite and see science, don’t panic. It is a weirdly addictive, intelligent and enjoyable explanation of why we eat as we do: more unputdownable than any non fiction has a right to be. Everyone should read it. And it might change your life.‘ Charlotte Mendelson

    ‘Bee Wilson is the ultimate food scholar. First Bite is a brilliant study of how we form our food preferences and how we may be able to change them. Her narrative kept me hungry for more until the very end.’ Yotam Ottolenghi

    ‘This is a fascinating, at times provocative, investigation into how and why we eat what we do, how food can be both medicine and poison, and a call-to-arms manifesto to make eating guiltlessly pleasurable for all.’ Nigella Lawson

    ‘If there were any justice in the world, this book should be at the top of this month’s diet-book bestsellers … I agree with every word she writes’ Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times

    ‘If any book can effect long-term weight loss, it should be this one, because it feeds the mind rather than denying the body’ The Times

    ‘First Bite is a feast of a book … Wilson’s focus on how we learn to eat rather than on what we eat is a refreshing new template for improving our relationship with food.’ Financial Times

    ‘First Bite is a brilliant read; a month after finishing it, I still think of it every time I set the table.’ Observer Food Monthly