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A Marriage Built On Rum Cake (with Alan Alda)

Posted by

Jul 02, 2018

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. (And please subscribe!)

Arlene and Alan Alda met at a dinner party in college, when the cake fell on the floor:

"Alan and I were the only two people at that whole dinner party who went in with our spoons and ate the cake off the floor," Arlene recalls.

"Flirting over food is really the best way to flirt," Alan (below, with Arlene, at his college graduation) adds. "It's combining two really nice things -- food and sex."


Sixty-one years later, they're still married. The secret, they say, is good communication.

This week on the Sporkful, Arlene and Alan talk about using food to communicate in their marriage, and in the wider world -- like solving geopolitical conflicts.

"[When you share a meal with someone,] you realize there’s a common humanity and you’re willing a little listen to the other person,” Alan says.

Arlene is a photographer and writer. And Alan (below) is well known as an actor. (You might know him for MASH and West Wing.)

But more recently, he has made communication the focus of his work.


He founded the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, and his new podcast Clear + Vivid features conversations about connecting and communicating.

Listen to the episode to hear Alan and Arlene's advice for resolving food conflicts in Dan's own family.

Plus, the Aldas tell us how to host a really good dinner party.

Be sure to check out Alan's new podcast, launching soon! (And you can get his pasta recipe here.)

Today's sponsors:

Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:

- "Sweet Summer Love" by Stephen Sullivan

- "Playful Rhodes" by Stephen Sullivan

- "The Huxtables" by Ken Brahmstedt

- "Stacks" by Erick Anderson

- "New Old" by James Thomas Bates

Photos: FlickrCC/Andrew Sweeney and courtesy of Brad Trent and Alan Alda

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