September 14, 2008

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, by Jennifer 8. Lee

I've had enough of food books for awhile. I'd started "The Saucier's Apprentice", but knowing that it was a memoir with recipes, I just couldn't get past the first chapter. Maybe someday I'll learn about Bob Spitz's trip through European cooking schools, but now is not the time.

That being said, this book was way better than I thought it would be. I think she went sort of overboard on the press when it came out, or at least it seemed that way because I kept on hearing about it on the radio and in food blogs, and then she named a Vancouver restaurant the best Chinese restaurant outside of China, so it got lots of local attention. So I was sick of it before I even read it. I'm glad I did though, because I learned a lot.

You know those stereotypical Chinese takeout containers that they always eat out of on TV shows and in movies? Did you know they really use those in the States? I didn't. Lee interviewed someone from the manufacturer and he specifically mentioned that they hadn't broken into Canada yet, which surprised her as much as it surprised me that they used them.

This book was mostly about how hard life is for Chinese immigrants who come to America with basically no other option than working in a Chinese restaurant. Many of them somehow never pick up any English despite living here for years, so they really have no other choice. It was quite an enlightening read, and one that has started a massively ongoing craving for wonton soup.

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