Chow Bella

Beach Bites: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

So, you've read Julie & Julia and all of Ruth Reichl's books, but you're hungry for more? Fear not, summer reader. We've got a week's worth of book recommendations for you, all food-related in one way or another, starting today with The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee.

Speaking of hunger, the friend who recommended Lee's book warned that reading it could produce an irrepressible craving for Chinese food. And how. We recommend consuming this book along with a plate of steaming lo mein or better yet, close to a continuing rotating dim sum cart.

Oh, it's worth it. You'll never look at a fortune cookie -- or a Chinese restaurant worker -- the same. Lee is a New York Times reporter, and it shows in her work. The book is incredibly well-reported (but lovingly paced with memoir -- she'll explain her odd middle name, for example), skipping down the menu from the history of Chinese food delivery to the background of soy sauce to the mystery intertwined throughout: Just where did fortune cookies originate?

We'll never tell. You'll have to read the book. You'll thank us, even if you feel a little bloated for a while. 

And if you're left wanting more, Lee's blog is delightful. She's also one of our favorites on Twitter: @jennifer8lee.  

Up tomorrow for Beach Bites: The King of Vodka, by Linda Himelstein 

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at