No Other Tale The Same: How My Parents Learned to Eat

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman and illustrated by Allen Say conveys the universal message of appreciating other cultures in a very simple, straightforward and charming manner. Everyone can appreciate and learn from this story, despite the fact that it is written for ages five to eight.

A young girl tells the tale of how her parents first learned how to eat - or really, learned to eat in a different way than they were used to growing up. Her mother is Japanese and her father is American, so when they first meet in Yokohama (he is stationed there as a solider), they are afraid to dine together. John is nervous because he doesn't know how to eat with chopsticks. Aiko is apprehensive because she doesn't know how to eat with a fork and knife. They secretly practice the other one's customs, and of course, when they go on their first dinner date, John is prepared to eat at a Japanese restaurant and Aiko is prepared to eat at an American restaurant. They resolve to alternate in the future, and the rest is history. The book ends with the little girl saying that some nights her family eats with chopsticks, and some nights her family eats with a knife and fork. Amazing.

Without sounding preachy, Friedman shows an example of two individuals who, instead of judging one another, strived to understand one another instead. There wasn't the least bit of disgust on either end. Both John and Aiko, with open minds and curiosity, strive to simply understand each other. Yes, it's a simplistic thought, yet what if everyone really took this concept to heart?

Sasha Martin cooked at least one dish from every country in the world in her Global Table Adventure experiment with the goal of creating more peace through understanding culture, one bite at a time. Food connects all of us no matter how differently we eat, and of course, we all know that food is about more than simply nourishment. As John thinks to himself when he finally gets up the courage to ask Aiko to dinner, "It's hard to be happy if you're hungry."