Do you have a finicky eater at your house? Scientists are studying some of them, trying to figure out what it is that’s driving them so crazy. But almost EVERYTHING tastes better grilled, and on holidays like Labor Day, we tend to do more of this.

When we not using propane, we use charcoal, and it turns out that charcoal is one of the most ancient fuels around: It was first used by Cro-Magnon Man 38,000 years ago, meaning that it may have been the first synthetic material produced by humans. Besides cooking, they used it to create cave art.

Lots of fussy appetites can be traced to texture: Foods seem too fuzzy, or slimy (for instance, spaghetti reminds some people of worms). In BBC News, Jane O’Brien quotes eating disorder specialist Nancy Zucker as saying, “There are people with definite biological vulnerabilities, influenced by experiences that have shaped them. This is an area that is vastly under-explored.”

BBC quotes researcher Beverley Tepper as saying, “Taste differences are a combination of genetics and personal characteristics, but there are other variables–some of it might be psychological. Maybe there are genes out there that cause picky eating. We don’t know yet.”

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