Is there Fish in Fish Cakes?

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Traditional Session, 20 min. oral

Is there fish in fish cakes?

- An interdisciplinary inquiry into the influence of a sensory-based experiential theme course on fish on children’s food literacy and fish-eating behavior

Author: Højer, Rikke

University College Absalon, Center for Nutrition and Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Health Sdr. Stationsvej 30, 4200 Slagelse, Denmark

Children; Food behaviour; Fish; Experiential learning; Food literacy; Food acceptance; Tactility;


Danish children aged 11- to 13- years only consume one-third of the officially

recommended amount of fish. The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of a five-week sensory-based experiential cooking course with fish on 11- to 13- year old children’s food literacy and acceptance of fish. This quasi-experimental study is based on a mixed methods research strategy (participant observations, baseline/follow up survey, group interviews), and 669 children participated (intervention group n = 268;

control group 1: no intervention n = 194; control group 2: oral lecture n = 207). The main effects were the ability to assess fish freshness (p = 0.007, MG > CG, 0.44 units on 5-point Likert scale), skills related to handling and cooking fish; e.g. filleting a flatfish (p < 0.001, MG > CG, 0.89 units) and autonomy, teamwork, and development of vocabulary. No positive effects were observed for liking or assessment of fish disgustingness; but course evaluation showed 47% had become curious on tasting other kinds of fish, and 38% stated a higher liking for fish after participation. Tactile play and cooking were able to promote acceptance, but rejection- acceptance were a continuum moved by degree of perceived animalness of fish. Finally, liking to cook is not associated with skills but with food neophobia, implying enjoyment of cooking does not depend on self-perceived skills but rather on curiosity and food exploration.

In conclusion, food literacy and acceptance of fish increased through participation in a five-week sensory-based experiential cooking course with fish.




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