The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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  • Archive for December, 2007

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    General Tso’s duck?

    Sunday, December 30th, 2007

    Apparently, te new Mt. Lebanon restaurant in Pittsburgh now serves General Tso’s duck. This goes along with other dishes I have discovered, including General Tso’s shrimp, General Tso’s tofu, General Tso’s dumplings, General Tso’s pizza. He has an expanding culinary empire

    My best post on City Room this year

    Saturday, December 29th, 2007

    I was asked to put together a funny highs and lows for 2007 on NYC. Which is interesting, because I had never done that before and had to figure out how to make humor work. I actually kind of came up with a few methodologies, and consulted my friend, Rachel Axler, whose a writer for […]

    Who’s Here? Who’s Queer? Who loves books about Chinese food?

    Saturday, December 29th, 2007

    So I went to a party last night at the home of a high school/college friend who is gay. It was basically me, four straight women, and 40 gay men (plus like one random straight guy who had been brought along without advance warning on what he would encounter. The Evite was titled “Who’s Here? […]

    Sea Cucumbers? One of the most misleadingly named creatures on the Chinese menu?

    Friday, December 28th, 2007

    I was out with my friend Robin the other day for lunch in Chinatown when she started talking about her experience with sea cucumbers. Sea cucumbers have this soft chewy jelly-like consistency. Robin had eaten them in Chinese restaurants and had never know they were moving creatures like the one above until her brother sent […]

    What about Chinese people who love Jewish food? Bagels in Beijing!

    Friday, December 28th, 2007

    A funny post on Triscribe tsktsking about the obsession about Jews who love Chinese food, and lack of attention to Chinese people who love Jewish food. The post points out, correctly, that about 1/3 of the waitstaff at born-again 2nd Avenue Deli are Chinese. (I can confirm that at least they are Asian immigrants, though […]

    Is there a worm hole from the Panda Garden straight down to Beijing?

    Thursday, December 27th, 2007

    Matthew Pearl (who also had Jon Karp as an editor) sent me an except of a diary from his great-aunt Ruth (now in her late 90s), about her early impressions of a Chinese restaurants while growing up Jewish in Brooklyn. In this excerpt, Jenny is an aunt and Sylvia is her sister. Matthew doesn’t know […]

    U8UNTU! (Ubuntu) A philosophy of living through others

    Thursday, December 27th, 2007

    A South African friend made this for me for Christmas to introduce me to the humanist concept of ubuntu — which is one of those concepts that can’t be easily expressed in English (and maybe even in the Western world). Ubuntu (which, yes, also happens to be the name of a Linux-based operating system) is […]

    Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas…in China! (And the Lost Chinese Jews of Kaifeng)

    Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

    From Danwei, a photo of Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas — in Beijing! The banner reads “A Warm Welcome to the Jewish Delegation’s Participation in the First Annual Beijing Christmas Chinese food banquet!” Note the little Star of Davids (filled in). On the sign, 猶太 (youtai), in case you are wondering, means “Jewish” in […]

    Fortune Cookies (along with Spitzer and Ahmadinejad) in the New York Sun’s office pool?

    Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

    From the New York Sun’s editorial page today, an office pool for 2008: 2. The surprise breakout nonfiction bestseller of the year will be a) Natan Sharansky’s “Defending Identity” b) Jonathan Mahler’s “Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: A Historic Challenge to the President” c) Steven Waldman‘s “Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in […]

    More Jews and Chinese food: Christmas at Shalom Hunan, a proposed documentary

    Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

    The Jews and Chinese food is a topic that never stops (that is why there is a whole chapter of it in my book!). Here is an 8-minute Youtube video, Christmas at Shalom Hunan. (Shalom Hunan, real place, in Brookline) The description: “What do Jews do on Christmas? In many parts of the U.S., eat […]

    Christmas, Chinese food and a movie: An American Jewish Tradition

    Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

    Today is Christmas, which is the single busiest day for some Chinese restaurants in the whole year (in New York, Miami, parts of LA and San Francisco) — driven by the Jews. At Manhattan’s Upper West Side Shun Lee, for example, it is twice as busy as the next busiest day. Arguably, it’s as an […]

    Available in white in five different sizes.

    Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

    My friend, Tim Layman, sent me an e-mail with the subject line “” and the body “Why can you buy ‘I Love Jennifer 8. Lee’ t-shirts from there?” I was like, what are you talking about? He wrote back: “went on Amazon to look up your book but I searched for “Jennifer 8 Lee” instead […]

    Pastrami (“Pastsami”) and Shrimp Fried Rice from Amazing 66 — more Sino-Judaic cuisine

    Monday, December 24th, 2007

    Another Sino-Judaic culinary adventure: as recommended by David Sax of Save the Deli fame, I tried the pastrami shrimp fried rice from Amazing 66 at 66 Mott Street in New York City’s Chinatown. Photo above, menu (with “pastsami” misspelled) below: Basically, if you are wondering: it tastes a lot like Yangzhou fried rice, except that […]

    My flower power cubicle

    Friday, December 21st, 2007

    I obtained a leftover Garden in Transit decal for the floor of my cubicle.  These are the same decals that were used on New York City taxis for the last several months. And no, they were not an advertisment for an Austin Powers. They were part of an artistic educational project.

    Maybe there aren’t a lot of Jews in Arkansas? Huckabee and his Christmas Eve with Chinese food

    Friday, December 21st, 2007

    A lot of my political friends have sent me this blurb on Michael Huckabee and his Christmas Chinese food tradition. An except from a dispatch by MSNBC’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy, “The only thing that I know that for sure we’re going to do that we have always done is we’ll go to our church Christmas Eve […]

    Holiday presents: fancy fortune cookies made in Willie Wonka-land

    Thursday, December 20th, 2007

    So for my professional holiday presents (I don’t do personal presents generally, long Chinese story) I couldn’t resist ordering from Good Fortunes, which offers delicious special (and pricey) fortune cookies for all kinds of special occasions: Valentine’s Day, Hannukkah, Weddings, Mother’s Day, etc. Anyway, here are the ones I gave out today. Above s their […]

    Tasty, Charming, Breezy, Likeable. Me? No, the book. (Kidding) From Kirkus Reviews

    Thursday, December 20th, 2007

    Cary Goldstein (to reiterate, one of the best publicists in the business) just sent me a congrats for the review from Kirkus Reviews. Yay. (The food-related analogies seem to be irresistible to these writers) Lee, Jennifer 8. THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food A quest. With eggrolls. Debut author Lee, […]

    Super Chinese Delivery: Chinese hot dogs via FedEx

    Thursday, December 20th, 2007

    Here is an email from the owner of Chai Peking glatt kosher Chinese restaurant in Atlanta about my City Room post about his (yummy!) Chinese eggrolls. A gentleman from Chicago read the article and ordered, I believe, 6 Chinese Hot Dogs to have shipped Federal Express to him. My question. Wait. Did he freeze them? […]

    Fortune Cookie Christmas Ornaments! (And a Partridge in a Pear Tree)

    Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

    From Etsy (venue to buy and sell all things homemade), we get porcelain fortune cookies, a set of six ornaments for $30 or a set of 12 non-ornaments for $38, by Yogagoat, aka as Amanda Ryznar. As Yogagoat describes them: Six of my porcelain fortune cookies, wired for hanging on your holiday tree. The wires […]

    Sino-Judaic cuisine: pastrami eggrolls and Chinese hot dogs

    Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

    I have a City Room post today on pastrami eggrolls and Chinese hot dogs (beef frankfurter in egg roll skin), seen below, which is found in  New York City. This of course segues into the age-old quesiton of why Jews love Chinese food so much –  a relationship that has been the subject of many a […]

    Meeting the Jewish Male version of myself…fast forwarded a few generations

    Monday, December 17th, 2007

    Today I got sent to cover the re-opening of the Second Avenue Deli, a revered New York City institution that was being reincarnated after shuttering two years ago at its East 10th street location. While I was there, the owner, 25-year-old Jeremy Lebewohl, pointed out a deli expert, an author who had traveled the world eating at […]

    Fortune Cookie Magic Eight Ball

    Monday, December 17th, 2007

    My friend David gave me a magic fortune cookie eight ball last year, available for $9.99. Some of its answers Future sticky like rice, You don’t wonton know Answer sweet and sour Don’t mock the cookie Try the eggroll Cookie busy – try later

    I’ll take a 12-pack of those…

    Saturday, December 15th, 2007

    So I have this gumball machine at my desk, which I fill with m&ms (it makes my desk a high traffic area). After much investigation online and off, I have determined that the best rate for m&ms, both peanut and plain, is from Costco. The problem is that I live in New York City and […]

    Is Harlem’s rezoning of 125th Street “ethnic cleansing?”

    Saturday, December 15th, 2007

    (This is an off-topic post about my neighborhood, but since it is my blog, I get to do what I want). This Village Voice article by Maria Luisa Tucker examines the debate over the rezoning of 125th Stret , which is important to me as that is both the main street where I grew up […]

    Why hasn’t Korean cuisine gone mainstream?

    Friday, December 14th, 2007

    Earlier this week, my editor and I flew out to Ann Arbor to have dinner with a number of Borders Books and Music executives, arranged by the sales rep, Jill (yay!). The restaurant we chose was Pacific Rim, which is this nice Asian fusiony place (think adjectives like “lemongrass,” “coconut curry” and “five-spice” sprinkled out […]

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