Beach Bites: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

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 would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.