But he basically found food scary and overwhelming. And so he controlled that by eating food that was as bland as possible. He was the same way about clothes. He didn't like any variety in clothing. So he wore black clothes for about eight years of his childhood. Ate white, dressed black. In both cases, in retrospect, he was trying to reduce sensory input. It was overwhelming. Smell was overwhelming, taste was overwhelming, colour was overwhelming. And he just had trouble processing.
He never mentions if his son ever had anything like autism which could explain part of this since overwhelming sensory input is a known trait. But I wonder how true this is for other picky-eaters who do not have a diagnosable illness. Is it about sensory control?
Later in the interview, Pollan says:
Kids' relations to food are complex. This generation will have its own neuroses, that's for sure. But it's very concerning that there are such high levels of allergies among kids nowadays. The reasons are as yet unexplained. But I've heard that it has complicated kids' relationships with food because so many have allergies, or think they do.
I've discovered cooking and gardening are great ways to get kids to reorient their relationships to food in a positive way. Kids will eat things that they'll pick in the garden that they'll never eat off the plate. Or they'll eat things that they've cooked themselves. Because I think a big issue for them is control. Food is really, I think, a primary political phenomenon. It is the first time you can control what you take into your body, and the first time you can say no to your parents and assert your identity. So I think food and politics are very intertwined.I agree that helping gardening and cooking are good ways to help children develop a positive relationship with food, but I am unsure of his comment that food is about control. I know he is probably talking more from personal experience than about eating disorders and dieting here, but if we look at it in that context, isn't that one of the misconceptions---that food is about control? Are food and politics that intertwined? I think on a national/global scale, food and politics do mesh, but I don't know on a personal level. If it is as he says, I think a lot of us are actually trying to shed some of the identity we have placed on ourselves or as others have seen us.
What are your thoughts?