My son just turned 2 and I've been thinking it is time to start teaching him about food. I wanted to see what his "baseline" was for what he considers to be good food so I set him free in the grocery store and just followed him with a basket. In 20 minutes of wandering he grabbed salmon, shrimp, trout, crab, a jar of caviar (I put that one back only for budgetary reasons), a big carton of strawberries, beets, carrots, basil, bananas, apples, butter, milk, and cream. Some of it could have been "monkey see, monkey do" but he had never seen a crab before(at least in the context of food).
I haven't been trying to keep him from modern foods, he eats cereal and bread when other people are having them, but he didn't show any interest in them at the store. I was convinced it was going to be all gummi bears, cereal with cartoon characters, and juice, but he surprised me, hence the question.
I did. My mom was strict and raised me mostly on 'real' food (although we did eat whole grains and pasta) and I was a picky eater from age 2 or so onward - only liked what I was used to eating at home, and that was whole fruit and veg (mom wouldn't even keep juice in the house), lots of milk and butter, unprocessed meat (lots of chicken as we couldn't afford beef or pork much), eggs, cheese, potatoes, brown rice, corn tortillas, pasta, and ice cream for dessert (but mostly I didn't want dessert as a kid). Most everything else made me nauseous to even smell it. The first time I encountered baloney and American cheese I was horrified and I particularly hated commercial baked goods (especially sweetened breads), all fast food, soda, and things that were 'too sweet'. I didn't even eat a sandwich or drink a soda until I was 18. My parents used to try to make me eat something at McDonald's when we were traveling, oh the tantrums. I also frequently got migraines from eating new foods (got a horrific, almost instantaneous one in first grade when I first ate jello) and that sure didn't help. I couldn't spend much time at my friend's houses until my teens because eating their food gave me a migraine. :/
Once I got away from my mom a bit I got slowly desensitized by our junk-food culture and ended up eating tons of crap and sugar later in life. Felt pretty much like crap mentally, physically and emotionally from it. After my system was used to tons of junk food I stopped having such bad reactions though.
We are definitely conditioned to eat foods those around us eat. I think as humans we instinctively know what is real food but that sense gets corrupted in the modern World. My son for example, when left alone has always chosen raw veggies & dip, beef jerky and other real foods to eat or snack on, ever since he was old enough to chose. When he is at a friend's house or out somewhere he trys to eat as healthy as he can but he will eat SAD food and he suffers the consequences lol, btw he is 14 years old. When he was younger we always had chocolate bars, candy, pop, etc in the house but he always chose the healthy food I have always allowed him to make his own decisions but provide information to him so he can make informed decisions about most things in Life. There is no instruction manual for being a single parent lol.
Especially being young adults, early 20's, my husband and I don't go out to bars and party much but we do like to walk around in a lively area and a good night out involves food at the newest foodie restaurant or other place we can socialize with people our own age. We sometimes fall into this mentality that we are are so young and worry about all the responsibilities we have sometimes we just don't want to worry about food or what we eat. But society has forced the extra stress and responsibilities on us so unless we want to up and buy a farm with our non existent farm fund we just have to do our best.