Sunday, December 5, 2010

What? No Chop Suey?

A book review I wrote a long time ago is being featured by The Internet Review of Books today.

If you like things about culture -- about people, society, and how things hang together to make us human -- you'll love this book. There was some fascinating information in it -- did you know that fortune cookies were invented by a Japanese-American family and their origins may trace back to Japan itself? Or how about this -- the Chinese got a leg up on the restaurant business because cooking was considered "woman's work." Most of the Chinese who came to the USA in the 1800s were brought here to mine and to help build the railroads. Once that work was done, they faced brutal discrimination, part of that being in finding employment obviously. Thus, Chinese restaurants.  And laundries.

That's the sort of thing that's in Lee's book, although this edition missed the fact that cashew chicken, Springfield style, was invented by David Leong in Springfield, Missouri just down the road..


THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food
By Jennifer 8. Lee
307 pp. Twelve: Hachette Book Group USA $24.99

Reviewed by Gary Presley

Jennifer 8. Lee works as a New York Times reporter, and a good reporter becomes intrigued when things don't add up--things like an extraordinary number of winners in one Powerball lottery.

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