The careful gathering of scientific and historical studies in Wilson’s book is meant to do more than convince us change is possible. While First Bite does not introduce itself as a self-help guide, its pages contain a generous portion of no-pressure advice, doled out in a sensible but soothing manner.
[Wilson's] tone is down-to-earth and research-based at once, gentle, encouraging, no-nonsense. The book lacks the self-helpery pap that mars so many best-selling books about food, but offers up advice and well-supported information on how we can teach ourselves and our children to eat.
Ms. Wilson’s book isn’t perfect. Occasionally her arguments tread familiar turf...Still, First Bite should be read by every young parent, and is a good resource for adults with eating disorders and those with more prosaic problems like waistline drift. There are some very useful ideas within these pages, and none of the usual pseudoscientific bunk that plagues books about diet. Carefully crafted, astutely served, delicious and nourishing: First Bite is a real treat.
Wilson isn’t in the business of finger-wagging. For starters, as her exhaustively researched book tells us, she knows that making people feel bad about habits (food or otherwise) is the surest way to invite their entrenchment. But mostly, the central premise of First Bite is one that we’d all be wise to see as liberating, generous and ultimately optimistic: If we learned what and how to eat as babies, we can unlearn and relearn and actually change what Wilson sees as our collectively chaotic relationships with food...
[T]he sections of First Bite that are devoted to the feeding of children are, for me, its least compelling...More enlightening and sparky by far are the chapters devoted to the effect of memory and gender on our tastes. Wilson is a brilliant researcher and in this, her fifth book, she has unearthed science that makes sense of our most intimate and tender worlds.
Wilson...often uses the topic of food as a gateway to explore the intersecting histories of ideas, culture, technology, and society... First Bite marks something of a shift in subject matter and approach: the book contains copious archival research, illuminating, for example, the history of school-food programs and eating disorders, but it also incorporates personal anecdotes from Wilson’s life: her troubled relationship with carbohydrates as a teen, and her desperate attempts to spoon healthful foods into the mouth of her resistant toddler son.