Even in adulthood, shoppers' purchases and cooking habits are influenced by their mothers, according to a white paper by Sullivan Higdon & Sink. "It's not just what we buy, it's also why we buy certain types of food -- like free-range eggs or whole-grain breads -- and how we use them to feed ourselves and our families from quick weeknight dinners to the most elaborate of holiday meals," researcher Tom Bertels said.

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