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First Bite: How We Learn to Eat Paperback – 29 Dec 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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  • First Bite: How We Learn to Eat
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  • This Is Not a Diet Book: A User’s Guide to Eating Well
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  • Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (29 Dec. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007549725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007549726
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 0.2 x 13.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

‘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

About the Author

Bee is an award-winning food writer, reviewer and journalist, currently author of 'The Kitchen Thinker' food column for The Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine (for which she has been named food journalist of the year three times by the Guild of Food Writers). She is the author of four previous books, most notably THE HIVE (John Murray), SWINDLED (John Murray) and CONSIDER THE FORK, published by Particular Books/Penguin Press and by Basic Books/Perseus in the US. Before she became a food writer, she was a Research Fellow in the History of ideas at St John’s College Cambridge. Many years ago, she was a Masterchef semi-finalist. She is married with three children and lives in Cambridge.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is no doubt about it, First Bite is a brilliant book and one that would help pretty much anyone anywhere who ever has to eat food... oh, that's everyone then! In it Bee talks about how and why we end up liking the food that we do. It is such a complicated subject with influences from our families, society and our own bodies. She takes the reader through the way we learn to eat as children, the battles that can start in childhood and how we end up with the relationship with food that we have as adults.

I would say that this book is helpful if you are about to embark on weaning a baby from milk onto solid food, if you are a parent responsible for feeding your children, if you work with children and are there when they are eating, if you have a child who is a fussy eater, if you are an adult who is unhappy with your weight, if you have a recognised eating disorder or know someone who does, if you are embarrassed by the limited range of what you eat, if you wish to eat more healthily but struggle to stick with it or if for any other reason you wish to change what you eat but are finding it difficult.

Although I embarked on reading this book principally for myself it straight away made me think about the way I feed the family and particularly the way I deal with my "fussy" daughter. Before I was even half way in I started to change this relationship and immediately saw results. There is so much psychology associated with this topic that it is helpful to have a book explaining what things definitely don't work and why other things do work.
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Format: Paperback
What's so powerful about this book is how empowering it is for change. It is transformative, because once we see eating in the ways Bee Wilson does, we are changed. It is difficult to see food again as it was.

I'm making First Bite sound like some trashy self help. It very much isn't. It's a glance under the bed of our food habits with no instructional lists to feel remonstrated by. Just a straight, very readable: take a look, and take freely from whatever to you makes sense. And so much does.
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By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Jan. 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
I agree with much of the previous review. However, the problem with books like this is that it is preaching to the deaf. All the advice in the world will not change our eating habits because what and how we eat is culturally based, and junk food, no matter how bad for us, is dirt cheap.

Sadly, obesity, already at alarming levels, will increase. Nudging on 68% , UK's obesity levels are a disgrace as well as a serious health risk. Japan's is around 3%. Singapore's 4%. Over the years those nations have changed their eating habits, in part the result of government action. In the UK , frightened to upset certain food interests and knowing the deep reluctance of the public to entertain change, our government shies away from similar action.

Wilson believes fear, threats and advice will not change our eating habits, and I agree. I would like to share her belief that frequent exposure to healthy food can but I am doubtful. Cheap unhealthy food is a magnet for thousands whose life styles make preparing good healthy food near impossible. However, the Sapere movement which educates children on the benefits of healthy eating is proving successful in Switzerland and France so there is room for optimism. Of one thing I am certain. Obesity and its consequences will not be conquered unless our children can be persuaded to eat less and cease drinking sugar laden drinks. As Finland shows, schools can do a great deal in this regard.

This is an excellent book. It deserves wide readership. Unfortunately, I fear our waistlines will continue to expand.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author repeats this quote from Doctor Spock several times because it sums up what the book is about. Her message is clear. We can learn to enjoy different foods but whether most of us even want to try is different matter.

I've given this book five stars not just for the message (important though it is) but for the interesting and informative way she presents it. I really enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone who wishes their family had a healthier diet.
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Format: Paperback
I first encountered social historian and food writer Bee Wilson through her brilliant book, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, which looks at history and much more through examining the evolution of cooking, and the implements needed for this.

Wilson is my favourite kind of writer of non-fiction – extensive in research, meticulous citing to enable the interested reader to search further, and, most important of all for me – a gifted weaver of words. However erudite a writer, I need the skills a good novelist possesses – how to tell the story. Essential that this is done in non-fiction as much as in fiction, I think. Bee Wilson knows how to tell the story.

First Bite: How We Learn to Eat is a more personal, different kind of book, though all the strengths of Wilson’s writing, as detailed above, are as impeccably in place. This book takes a long and cool look at the origins of our often disordered eating habits. It is a more personal book because Wilson herself, as she explains, was a disordered eater, tending towards weight gain, attracted to the sugary, struggling with this and that diet. Meanwhile her sibling had another kind of eating disorder.

Food, in lands of plenty, has become a huge problem for man. Fashions in advice for how to change, in the developed world, the curious mixture of obesity and malnourishment which is endemic, is endlessly written about, and the legions of diet gurus all grow fat (metaphorically, one assumes) on the proceeds of the over-fed’s obsessions.
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