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Karen Wistoft

Play with your food! Tactile play with fish as a way of breaking down 11 to 13 year old children’s disgust barrier when learning to cook fish in a school setting – a qualitative study

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  • Rikke Højer, FOOD, KU, Denmark
  • Karen Wistoft
  • Michael Bom Frøst, FOOD, KU, Denmark
Despite a rich and long food tradition of consuming fish in Denmark, and the health benefits of eating fish, Danish children only consume one-third of the officially recommended amount of fish. The objective of this study is to investigate the experiential and sensory-based experiment gyotaku (Japanese fish print) as a way of breaking Down the disgust barrier of 11 to 13 year old children and qualitative investigate the effects on their interaction and
acceptance of fish. The research design of this study is a qualitative explanatory multiple case study design using participant observation in either a contrived or a natural setting and focus groups with students. Five classes were
recruited from the Capitol region and two from the region of Zealand (n = 132). Through thematic analysis the following four key themes were identified: Rejection, acceptance, craftsmanship, and the social dimension. Rejection and
acceptance seemed to happen gradually along a continuum related to different phases of the gyotaku experiment. Rejection was promoted by e.g. slime, fish smell, blood whereas e.g. helping each other, tactile play, and craftsmanship promoted acceptance. Furthermore, categorization of the fish influenced change along the rejection – acceptance continuum. Using the fish as a creative medium for tactile play became an important motivator in overcoming disgust and promoting acceptance, but it is also suggested that rejection and acceptance is gradual and moves back and forth on a continuum which is especially changed by how the fish is categorized; as non-food, animal or food. The study also revealed that autonomy, skills, and helping each other in the groups were important factors to promote acceptance, whereas e.g. the texture of the fish lead to rejection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAppetite
ISSN0195-6663
Publication statusSubmitted - 20 Sep 2018

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