Here's my best shot:
If color influences our desire to eat/not eat certain things, it most
likely has more to do with experience than anything else. For example, we
know that green is not a "normal" color for meat, and if we encounter green
meat, it may very well be spoiled and could make us ill if we consumed it.
We know that certain fruits are meant to be a certain color when they're
ripe; strawberries are sweetest when they're ripe and red, as are tomatoes
(in general). But green fruit is ripe in some cases, such as green apples
(ex. Granny Smith's) or kiwi fruit.
I can't think of any color not represented in food, can you?
Response to certain smells and tastes, on the other hand, have been found
to be universally "hard wired" into the brain; for example, a taste for
sweetness is regarded as pleasant and desireable by most babies and
children from nearly all, if not all cultures examined. The odor of rotten
meat is universally considered repugnant.
Karen E. Kalumuck, Ph.D.
Exploratorium Teacher Institute
3601 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
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