'Jennifer 8. Lee' on Serious Eats

General Tso Conquers Pizza

Fortune Cookie Chronicles New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee, an obsessive of Chinese food culture, reveals that the legendary General Tso is now dabbling in pizza-making. A reader of her Fortune Cookie Chronicles blog sent her a photo of a menu at a Philadelphia Chinese restaurant that features "Chinese pizza." You can order your pie with General Tso sauce, sesame garlic sauce, or hoisin barbecue. This is funny because—and I may have told this story before; bear with me—a Chinese translator I know once had to translate some documents for a Chinese restaurant trade association. There was a... More

In Videos: Fortune Cookies Not Found in China?

This is not an act. Random people in China did not know about the fortune cookie's existence. While researching for her book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Jennifer 8. Lee educated them that yes, there is paper inside, but you should just eat the cookie part. She had to bring the treats over from Wonton Food, a distributor in the U.S., because the cookies are not readily available in China. Overall, the newly-educated citizens seem pretty pleased.... More

In Videos: Jennifer 8. Lee on 'Charlie Rose'

"Fortune cookies were invented by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately they're consumed by Americans." Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, talks about the prevalence of Chinese food around the world and its major role in American culture on Charlie Rose. Watch the video after the jump.... More

Weekend Book Giveaway: 'The Fortune Cookie Chronicles'

Occasionally on weekends, we give away a food-related book. This week, we've got a few copies of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles to give away. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee's obsessive look into all things having to do with Chinese food—from packaging to labor to human trafficking to, of course, the origin of the wise little cookie that comes at the end of a meal at most Chinese restaurants in the U.S. It's an entertaining read, full of great tidbits that will stick with you and bubble to the top of your brain each time you feast on Chinese food. (For a more in-depth take on it, you can check out what I wrote... More

'The Fortune Cookie Chronicles'

I never gave much thought to Chinese food before moving away from the Midwest. Hot and sour soup, chop suey, sweet, sweet General Tso's chicken—all followed by a fortune cookie—well, isn't that just what folks ate in China? After landing on the East Coast, I was shocked to discover my beloved crab rangoon missing from the menus of Chinese restaurants here. "You do know those aren't authentically Chinese, don't you?" my girlfriend said after I had complained about the subject once too often. "Come on: cream cheese? Deep-fried in wonton skins? That's clearly American Chinese food." After the scales had fallen from my eyes, I wondered what else on the menus of typical U.S. Chinese restaurants was invented for American... More

Fortune Cookies: Made in Japan? Like Pizza? Your Weirdest Fortune?

Photograph from iStockphoto.com Who would have thunk it? According to an extraordinary story in the New York Times by Jennifer 8. Lee, fortune cookies are more like Toyotas than Fords. That is, they originated near Kyoto, Japan, not in America's Chinatowns—and certainly not in China. So many questions abound. Who discovered this? And, to paraphrase a lyric from a Talking Heads song, "You may ask yourself, 'How did they get here?'" And, why are fortune cookies like pizza? The answers after the jump:... More

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