Family meal traditions : comparing reported childhood food habits to current food habits among university students.
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Appetite: the journal for research on intake, its control and its consequence. - London
, p. 64-70
University of Antwerp
The aim of this study is to investigate if reported childhood food habits predict the food habits of students at present. Questions addressed are: does the memory of childhood family meals promote commensality among students? Does the memory of (grand)parents cooking influence students cooking? And, is there still a gender difference in passing on everyday cooking skills? Using a cross-sectional survey, 104 students were asked about their current eating and cooking habits, and their eating habits and the cooking behaviour of their (grand)parents during their childhood. Results show that frequencies in reported childhood family meals predict frequencies of students commensality at present. The effects appear for breakfast and dinner, and stay within the same meal: recalled childhood family breakfasts predict current breakfast commensality, recalled childhood family dinners predict current dinner commensality. In terms of recalled cookery of (grand)parents and the use of family recipes a matrilineal dominance can be observed. Mothers are most influential, and maternal grandmothers outscore paternal grandmothers. Yet, fathers childhood cooking did not pass unnoticed either. They seem to influence male students cookery. Overall, in a life-stage of transgression students appear to maintain recalled childhood food rituals. Suggestions are discussed to further validate these results.