all-american chinese food

Did you know that in the United States, there are more Chinese restaurants than McDonald's, Burger Kings and KFCs combined? It's true. I read it in Jennifer 8. Lee's informative and entertaining new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, all about the history and culture of Chinese food in America. It's available in bookstores this week.

In the book, Jennifer goes on a road trip of sorts across the landscape of what we know and love about Chinese food, searching for the true story behind fortune cookies, restaurant workers, and some of our favorite Chinese and not-so-Chinese dishes. The secret of General Tso revealed! It's a well-written, fun read, full of interesting stories and factoids, but what I really love about it is how it crafts a portrait of how Chinese food as we know it has weaved itself into the fabric of American culture. It's fascinating, and I highly recommend it.

Jennifer is scheduled to be a guest on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report tomorrow night (he loves his lo mein). Good stuff. She recently appeared on NPR's All Things Considered: 'Fortune Cookie' Offers New Taste of America. Here's also a good Newsweek story on Jennifer and the book: Lo Mein Street, U.S.A. Turns out, the story of Chinese food in America is in many ways the story of America itself. To learn more about The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, go to the official website here, which includes a blog and stuff.

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