The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

  • #26 on the New York Times Best Seller List
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  • Archive for November, 2007

    My first review: Starred, from Publishers Weekly

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    My agent, Larry Weissman, sent me my review in Publishers Weekly (scroll 1/3 of the way down), which is out today : * The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food Jennifer 8. Lee. Hachette/Twelve, $24.99 (308p) ISBN 978-0-446-58007-6 Readers will take an unexpected and entertaining journey—through culinary, social and cultural history—in […]

    Maybe she really really liked their crispy shredded beef?

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    A British millionaireness who died and left her $20 million fortune to her favorite Chinese restaurant owners is now having her will challenged in court by her surviving relatives. Golda “Goldie” Bechal died aged 89 in January 2004, leaving the bulk of her estate to her friends Kim Sing Man and his wife Bee Lian […]

    My first review is out next Monday in Publishers Weekly

    Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

    Which is weird to think — the idea of being formally reviewed. Publishers Weekly  is one of the big four industry trade publications. The others are Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist.  PW did ask for the image of the orange book cover because they might feature it on their table of contents, which Cary assures […]

    Ted Kennedy’s memoir goes to Twelve for a reported $8 million

    Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

    After a six-day auction between nine publishers,  Twelve landed Ted Kennedy’s memoir for a reported $8+ million “people close to the negotiations said.” That’s an impressive coup for Jon Karp and Twelve. ($8 million is the ballpark amount for what Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair got for their autobiographies). The book, tentatively scheduled to come […]

    My book on world tour (well…only to the UK)

    Saturday, November 24th, 2007

    So my galley went on a trip to the UK and friends sent me a photo of my book galley from Oxford… It also went to Scotland (and maybe Wales too? actually I think it skipped Wales) on this trip. (Btw. I used to edit it online. Amazing. It’s Photoshop in your browser)

    Think Valentines’s Day is most romantic day in Chinatown? Try Thanksgiving

    Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

    The most romantic day in Chinatown is not Valentine’s (because of cupids) or Christmas (because of the mistletoe), it is Thanksgiving. Why? On the fourth Thursday in November, hundreds of white bridal gowns rustle in the streets of Chinatown. More weddings take place in Chinatown on that one single day for one simple reason: it’s […]

    Fortune cookies (and me) on CBS News Sunday Morning

    Friday, November 16th, 2007

    I am scheduled to be on CBS News Sunday Morning for their food episode as a fortune cookie expert. (Not directly related to the book, but how many English-speaking fortune cookie experts are there in the world). We shot at Shun Lee a few days ago, with a plate of fortune cookies delectably placed on […]

    No justice! No noodles! Restaurant workers stand up for their rights

    Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

    I did a blog post on City Room on Wednesday about Chinese restaurant workers organizing for City Room. With chants of “No Justice! No Noodles!” (you got to love that) Chinese restaurant workers called for a boycott of Ollie’s Noodle Shop and Grill restaurants yesterday, claiming that the president of the popular restaurant chain was […]

    I’ve booked my first public reading with the Geography of Bliss

    Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

    Eric Weiner and I will be doing a joint public reading at KGB Bar, an East Village establishment where people can indulge in spirits and literature at 85 East 4th Street, tenatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 11. (Tuesdays apparently is their non-fiction night). Eric’s book, The Geography of Bliss, is the January book on Twelve […]

    Found in Translation: How does Asian ethnic food become American

    Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

    I went to the packed NYU/James Beard Foundation event last night — Found in Translation: An Exploration of How Asian Cuisines Become Part of the American Culinary Landscape. Event was totally full. Wait list galore. People (luckily for me) are absolutely fascinated by food talks. And to its credit, it was a pretty diverse crowd […]

    The Top 100 Chinese Restaurants (Really the top 1,000, but who’s counting) annual awards banquet

    Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

    This past Sunday I attended Chinese Restaurant News 4th Annual Top 100 Chinese Restaurants Awards Banquet, which was held at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. I attended with my friends Nolan and Mike. Most of it was in Chinese, so it was like “white noise” (or “yellow noise” as one of them […]

    I’ve updated my list of chapters

    Sunday, November 11th, 2007

    This morning, now that I am back from an insane series of book dinners, I put the list of my chapters  online  as people seem to be blogging now about my galleys (Eater had a scuffle and Mae’s Food Blog has had multiple posts.)

    A book dedication to Ms. Right and the yet-to-be-born

    Sunday, November 11th, 2007

    My friend Shawn and I were IMing about our dedications in our books. I dedicated mine to my parents (“For Mom and Dad, who left their homeland so their children could follow their passions, and for all other moms and dads who have done the same.”) But his, the best I have ever seen, takes […]

    Confucius say, You will vote for Obama?

    Sunday, November 11th, 2007

    Reporters at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa were scarfing done fortune cookies provided by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign as they were the only things they had to eat. Per Garance’s France-Ruta‘s observations: The Obama campaign’s Iowa spokesman Tommy Vietor walked by the press riser, at one point, tossing fortune cookies to reporters and cameramen, […]

    Cary Goldstein, book publicist extraordinaire

    Friday, November 9th, 2007

    Cary Goldstein (very patiently) trekked across five cities with me to attend dinners that he and his assistant Carolyn had carefully arranged. As my friend Nicole (who attended two dinners, in Boston and San Francisco) put it, you couldn’t even tell he was a publicist at the dinner. It’s amazing what a good book publicist […]

    It’s cold in LA

    Friday, November 9th, 2007


    Our copyeditors seem to like it thus far…

    Friday, November 9th, 2007

    My editors have been telling me that the copy editors who have been working on the book, have said nice things about it. (three cheers for copy editors, they catch the most amazing thing). One email forwarded to me by one of the copy editors: I did manage to get it back one day sooner […]

    Galley demand

    Friday, November 9th, 2007

    From one of the sales reps …to the publicist after the prepub dinner in Seattle @ House of Hong. Which is in theory, why we do the tour in the first place, so yay. Hi, Jennifer 8 Lee was such a hit in Seattle that my accounts are clambering for more  galleys. Can you send […]

    I’m going to lose my voice by the end of this week

    Wednesday, November 7th, 2007


    A real General Tso — actually General Cao

    Monday, November 5th, 2007

    Someone pointed to me that the defense minister is named Cao Gangchuan. He is a real General Cao, which is (more or less, though you can’t tell unless you know pinyin) pronounced General Tso, as Americans pronounced. Except of course, that General Tso is actually General Zuo Zongtang, and Zuo is pronounced, roughly, like “juoh.” […]

    A mad rush of a pre-pub tour: four dinners in four cities in four days

    Monday, November 5th, 2007

    This week I am on a pre-publication tour, going to different cities and having dinner at (where else?) Chinese restaurants with booksellers and local media. Julie Bosman does a nice job explaining the motivation for pre-pub tours in this piece from The New York Times. As she writes: Unlike the postpublication book tour, which focuses […]

    Chinese women don’t get fat, but American women who eat (American) Chinese food do

    Friday, November 2nd, 2007

    I thought this piece from Calorie Labs had such a cute title that I am citing it, even though it is citing old news. Basically in March the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a study (their second) on American Chinese food and discovered it is bad for you. This always gets a […]

    There really are two menus in Chinese restaurants? Is this dog or “lamb”

    Friday, November 2nd, 2007

    The Moscow Times reports the police are investigating a Chinese restaurant for killing dogs and serving them. A Chinese restaurant in southwest Moscow is being investigated on suspicion of rounding up dogs on the street, killing them and passing their cooked meat off to customers as lamb, city police said Monday. Two residents went to […]