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1 Beaverton Cooking and Food- Gastronomic Literature

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food

by

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food Cover

ISBN13: 9780446698979
ISBN10: 0446698970
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis:

If you think McDonald's is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of Chinese-American experience through the lens of the food. In a compelling blend of sociology and history, Jenny Lee exposes the indentured servitude Chinese restaurants expect from illegal immigrant chefs, investigates the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, and weaves a personal narrative about her own relationship with Chinese food. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles speaks to the immigrant experience as a whole, and the way it has shaped our country.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

wurdnurd, April 20, 2010 (view all comments by wurdnurd)
A wonderfully engaging, conversationally informative study of the impact of Chinese people and food in the global culture, especially in America. Chock full of trivia that will astound/annoy your family and friends, the narrative focuses mostly on NYC, with occasional trips to CA, China, Japan and other global locales. Lee is unapologetically biased as a Chinese-American, with nary a note of empathy for other immigrant groups who may have been exploited by the Chinese (most notably the Japanese, whose internment by the US government directly resulted in the rise of Chinese cuisine in the US, and the Chinese acquisition of Japanese fortune cookies). Despite these shortcomings, the book is well worth the time for fans of cultural and/or culinary histories.
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jadelin, March 3, 2010 (view all comments by jadelin)
Great book. It made me hungry and it made me laugh. While on the surface Jennifer 8 Lee seems to be exploring the origins of Chinese fast food in America, pop culture and even how ideas about food were exported from Asia, she is steering us on a path that many immigrants want to experience. This "chronicle" serves to document a sociological and historical ride of how Asians wound up in America and how their identities have been augmented by various circumstances. Some of these experiences seem downright funny and ironic and others are more somber.

I especially enjoyed the images of Lee's bold conversations with gray haired wise Chinese and Japanese folk in their homeland, recounting their versions of the origin of a dish, its name and in their telling of the story, they spoke an oral history. Sometimes while reading the book, I found myself craving that greasy "Chinese" diner food accented with celery, chunks of meat and slithering noodles. At other times, I recalled the memories of family, gathered around a round table, greasy marked tablecloth, stuffed bellies, translating the fortunes that were in our futures to our Chinese grandmothers.
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Christy Valentine, June 24, 2009 (view all comments by Christy Valentine)
It's natural for people to be interested in learning the where, why and how of where food originates, and while authors like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser are arguably more intellectual than Jennifer Lee, Ms. Lee brings an intimacy and personality to her debut book that is often absent from more scholarly tomes.

Sections of this book first appeared in the New York Times, which is where I first heard of it, but the complete work expounds on a lot of the concepts present in that article: where fortune cookies and General Tso's chicken originated, how little Chinese restaurants resemble authentic Chinese dining experiences, the challenges of being an Asian immigrant in the United States. It is, perhaps, a bit ambitious for Ms. Lee to attempt to address all these issues on one book, but she touches on enough of the history and humanity behind Chinese cooking in the West that it's forgivable.

Having grown up in and around Chinese restaurants, frequently running through the kitchens and begging for prawn crackers and fortune cookies as a child, it was very illuminating to read about the realities behind those golden memories, and I imagine anyone who frequently eats Chinese takeout will have a similar experience. The hardships and the luck behind Chinese restaurants are well-expressed, and the book gave me a new appreciation for the food I eat on holidays, on the run, while studying for finals, and with my extended family. It's a must for anyone interested in the story behind the food we eat and the history of American immigrants.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780446698979
Author:
Lee, Jennifer
Publisher:
Twelve
Author:
Lee, Jennifer 8
Subject:
Regional & Ethnic - Chinese
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - Asian American Studies
Subject:
Cookery, chinese
Subject:
Gastronomy
Subject:
Cooking and Food-Chinese
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
309
Dimensions:
8.02x5.19x.82 in. .66 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » General
Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » Chinese
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Algebra » General
Travel » Travel Writing » General

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food Used Trade Paper
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 309 pages Twelve - English 9780446698979 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , If you think McDonald's is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of Chinese-American experience through the lens of the food. In a compelling blend of sociology and history, Jenny Lee exposes the indentured servitude Chinese restaurants expect from illegal immigrant chefs, investigates the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, and weaves a personal narrative about her own relationship with Chinese food. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles speaks to the immigrant experience as a whole, and the way it has shaped our country.
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