In Amy Chozick’s family, as in many others, there’s a clear difference between the food each generation likes and dislikes. She discusses this culinary divide in her essay for the New York Times, where she describes how she and her sister Stefani now find themselves at odds over dining choices with the same people who raised (read: fed) them.

After coming to this realization, she set out to investigate whether “food, so often portrayed this time of year as the glue that binds a family together, can also be the wedge that drives us apart.” She found plenty of evidence to support both sides of this relationship. Social scientist William J. Doherty says that food is “a connector and a divider.” And according to anthropologist Heather Paxson, food can reflect changes in the family dynamic.

One example that Chozick uses is Marilyn Hagerty (of Olive Garden review fame) and her daughter. The Grand Forks, North Dakota columnist grew up in an era when food was first and foremost utilitarian. When her daughter was working in Hong Kong, her daughter took her on a food tour of Shanghai. It was her way to both show her mother something new, while marking her journey in food.

[via The New York Times]