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SAGE and the Never Ending Endeavor to Expand the Culinary Palates of GC Students

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SAGE and the Never Ending Endeavor to Expand the Culinary Palates of GC Students

Cabigas OLGCHS

Cabigas OLGCHS

Cabigas OLGCHS

Connor Amato, Sports Editor

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We all see it at lunch: seemingly hundreds of students crowding the mac and cheese line while platters full of more unfamiliar foods that many people haven’t heard of are sitting at the other stations waiting to be taken. Often the fan favorite food is gone before lunch ends, and the late comers usually go for a sandwich or salad. Why do only a small number of students try foods that are unfamiliar to them? Despite the popularity of common foods, SAGE valiently continues to put a variety of multi-cultural choices on the menu. They attempt to get students to try new foods, but in many cases, their efforts fail.

The main reason students almost always choose familiar food is that they trust that it tastes good. When there isn’t a favorite food choice on the menu, many people complain about how terrible the lunch is. At the lunches where there isn’t pizza or mac and cheese or fries, many people seem to go to opt for the salad bar, while a few others reluctantly choose to try something new. Here we see SAGE’s efforts working. The student chooses the new food. However, she or he doesn’t like it. This reaction is caused by a phenomenon known as neophobia, or fear of new things, that is common in young humans. Biologically, we  tend not to like new things.

According to the science journal “Appetite,” it takes 10 to 15 exposures to break neophobia. Another way to break neophobia is to always have an open mind. Be aware of neophobia; just because you haven’t had a particular type of food before doesn’t mean it won’t be delicious. One time I got to lunch late and the mac and cheese was all gone. I was quite bummed out, but I decided to try some Singapore noodles.

Although I had never had this dish before, I was able to keep an open mind and enjoy it. It is now my favorite Cantonese dish, and I have tried other Cantonese foods because of the experience. The point of this story is that trying new foods can expose you to foods that might become your new favorites. I spoke with my friend Joey Martinez, whom I see enjoying the less popular choices at lunch quite often, about the SAGE menu. He said that “you’ve got to try new things. If you don’t try new things, you limit yourself. People say ‘ew that looks gross,’ but if you are open to it, it tastes good, and when I try it I love it. Especially if you are in another part of the world, you can’t just eat American foods”. He hopes to encourage people to try different food choices at lunch.

Paul Webster/www.foodanddrinkpho
Singapore noodles

I am not saying that we should ditch our favorite foods to try new things every lunch. If burgers are on the menu and you like burgers, obviously enjoy yourself a burger. However, because many of us always go for that safe favorite food, we aren’t always making the healthiest choices at lunch. Often the fan favorite food is also the most sugary and fatty food available. There isn’t anything wrong with sugar or fat in moderation, of course, but continuously eating very sugary and fatty meals isn’t exactly healthy. There is even a name for what happens when people get their daily meals from a dining hall upon entering college and gain weight because of it: the freshman fifteen. GC students in all grade levels can fall into unhealthy eating habits. Experiencing new foods can be very helpful in expanding your palate to liking a variety of foods. SAGE can’t force you to try new foods, but having an open mind may introduce you to a new, enjoyable, and possibly healthier diet.

 

Reference:

Leann Lipps Birch, Linda McPhee, B.C. Shoba, Edna Pirok, Lois Steinberg, “What kind of exposure reduces children’s food neophobia?: Looking vs. tasting”, Appetite, Volume 9, Issue 3, 1987, Pages 171-178, ISSN 0195-6663, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0195-6663(87)80011-9.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666387800119)

 

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