For generations, chopsticks have been an integral part of Chinese culinary culture. Born into such a community, I was taught to use this cuisine tool in childhood. Even now, my father’s pedagogy of utilizing chopsticks still deeply embeds in my memory. My community of chopsticks built the time-honored history and treasured tradition of China and Eastern Asia.
Everything changed after my immigrating to the United States where the mark of chopsticks was replaced by the gentle clatter of knives and forks. This sublime shift aroused my interest to edge the western culinary culture. While I gradually grew to have a predilection for these delicate tablewares made of metals, I rejoined my family dinner with the artless wooden chopsticks which made me feel coming home. Leading a life under the fusion of North American and Asian cultures, I found a foothold of my own. Reverent as I was towards my forebear’s established tradition, I accepted the Western culture with alacrity.
Using knives and forks with the same dexterity as using chopsticks, I consider myself a blend of Western and Eastern cultures. Indeed, I realize that not only I am expanding the width of my life by stepping into a distinct culture, but my whole community is also enlarging our realm, finding methods repeatedly to spread farther with the increase of global interactions and exchange between communities. As one of the individuals who play a role in the extension across the face of the Earth, I hope to efface the borders of communities, cultures, and even the world.
Flickr / Photo by Republic of Korea.