Science explains why we love food in miniature

From bagel bites to tapas, people everywhere enjoy eating miniaturized food. Just look at the picture above of a mini chicken pot pie, lasagna, grilled cheese, mac and cheese and — my personal favorite — Thanksgiving leftovers. Look at how cute they are — I really want one…or 15 (and if you say you don't, I simply won't believe you).

But why? Why are these cupcake-sized entrees so irresistible? Natalie Angier called this "The Cute Factor" in a 2006 New York Times article. According to the article, humans are wired to react positively to anything that reminds us of a baby, from "the young of virtually every mammalian species, fuzzy-headed birds like Japanese cranes, woolly bear caterpillars, a bobbing balloon, a big round rock stacked on a smaller rock, a colon, a hyphen and a close parethesis typed in succession."

I guess food is no different.

Chatham University director of food studies, Alice Julier, says that this isn't a new phenomenon: "The Japanese have been doing it with food forever." So, while it may not be a recent trend, it's definitely gaining popularity in the United States. Pinterest is exploding with adorable savory creations. I did a quick search for "food" and found tons of bite-sized, single-serving treats. Just for fun, check out the ones that looked extra good in the gallery below.

Via NPR

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