The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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    Proquest, the American Library Association, and Fortune Cookies

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | May 6, 2008

    I might be going to speak at an American Library Association conference in Denver next January (yes, Denver in January) on my use of the historical newspaper archives offered by ProQuest. I love ProQuest and even thank them in my acknowledgments. Basically their historical archives were perfect for something like my book — searching for early terms that may or may not show up in sporadic locations. So this helped me trace the history of fortune cookies, chop suey, General Tso’s chicken and Chinese restaurants. This is how I found the 1883 NYT article that asked, “Do the Chinese eat rats.”

    It also made me really proud to work for the New York Times, because our content has been so good from day one. And the New York Times was as obsessed with Chinese food then as it was now.

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