Most mornings on her way to school, Marni, 5, from San Francisco enjoys munching on croissants in the back of the car. She loves croissants - but only the plain ones.
I’ve followed Marni on Instagram for a good few years now. Not only because she’s the best-dressed 5-year-old I’ve seen or the fact that her infectious personality gives me a daily dose of happiness, but because I love watching her eat. Now, I know that may make me sound a little weird, but to me, there is nothing better than watching kids dive head first into their food. That pure enjoyment (or disgust) on their face is so extreme, why doesn’t anyone over the age of 10 pull faces like that when tucking into a bowl of mouthwateringly good pasta?
It got me thinking about my relationship with food as a child compared to now. Wow, I was a fussy eater back then; sweets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, please. Anything else would have been secretly fed under the table to my dog Jasper. Now while I may still enjoy the odd sugary fizzy belt, my tastes buds have drastically changed.
Children have around 30,000 taste buds, so eating must be one hell of a lip-smacking experience, even the simplest or blandest foods (to us) would be an explosion of flavours. As we get older (as if getting hangovers wasn’t enough), we start to lose some of these taste buds. Which explains why we tend to tuck into more food that’s full of punchy and complex flavours, like a curry or a glass of Amarone. Our ‘matured’ taste buds crave more excitement and stimulation.