Jane grew up in a Korean-American family in Texas, but she never quite mastered chopsticks.
Brian grew up in Iowa and didn't use chopsticks until he moved to Houston after college. But he got good fast.
"One of the things that I noticed on one of our first dates was that [Brian] was so much better than me at using chopsticks," Jane says. "I felt proud of him, but a little threatened."
This week on The Sporkful, Jane and Brian call in from Houston for help understanding Jane's mixed emotions about Brian's chopstick prowess.
It's part of an episode where we take calls from listeners whose cultural or religious differences with loved ones are creating tensions around food.
Riding shotgun this week is our friend Helen Rosner, who writes about food for The New Yorker.
Helen grew up in a Jewish family in Chicago, but she's not religious now. Her husband comes from a family of Coptic Christians, with roots in the Middle East.
"We really believe in the identities of the cultures that we come from," Helen says of her own interfaith and intercultural marriage. "These identities are separate, but our shared non-practice [of religion] brings us together."
Later in the show, Brian from Asheville, NC (above), calls in for advice about praying before meals.
Brian and his wife are atheists, but Brian's family is very religious. What happens when they gather for meals and the religious side of the family wants to say grace in front of Brian's young daughter?
"On the one hand we want to respect [my family's religious] customs," he says. "But at the same time we don't want our daughter to go through any sort of indoctrination."
Listen in to the full episode to hear Dan and Helen's advice on navigating interfaith and intercultural family relationships through food!
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Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:
- "Hip Hop Slidester" by Steve Pierson
- "Scrambloid" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Kenny" by Hayley Briasco
Photos: Courtesy of Jane L.