Ask Mar­i­lyn

Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - ALL-NEW - By Mar­i­lyn vos Sa­vant Send ques­tions to mar­i­lyn @ pa­rade.com

My daugh­ter gets in­di­ges­tion from just smelling eggs cook­ing. Is there a name for this? —Carolyn Haynes, Birm­ing­ham, Ala. It's a taste aver­sion, this one so strong that it's pro­voked even by a smell rem­i­nis­cent of the real thing. Eggs are a com­mon trig­ger. Most likely, your daugh­ter once had a close en­counter with a rot­ting egg, and it made a last­ing im­pres­sion on her. This is an ex­treme form of an an­cient sur­vival mech­a­nism: You eat some­thing that makes you sick, and you avoid it af­ter­ward. You can see this at work when you en­joy a fa­vorite food, then get sick for some un­re­lated rea­son—maybe the flu—and just the thought of the last food you ate (a fa­vorite!) is sick­en­ing.

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