How My Parents Learned to Eat

Ina R. Friedman

In this picture book, a little girl explains why her family uses chopsticks on some days and a fork and knife on others. Before the little girl was born, her father, John -an American sailor- was stationed in Yokohama, where he met her mother, Aiko, a Japanese school girl.  Throughout their relationship, John and Aiko never eat together because they are afraid they won’t know how to use the utensils of the other’s culture properly.  However, in order to overcome their fears, they each secretly begin to go to restaurants to learn how to use each other’s eating utensils. After trial and error, John is able to use chopsticks and Aiko is able to use a fork a knife. On their first dinner date, John and Aiko attend an American restaurant and on their second date, they indulge in Japanese cuisine. On those dates, John and Aiko were both able to eat using the other’s utensils, and now, to this day, the little girl and her parents eat with chopsticks on some days and forks and knives on others.  

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