New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee has been talked about around these parts for two things this month: Dissing DC in a post on the newspaper's CityRoom blog (and thus igniting the wrath of DCist), and publishing The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.
We're going to focus on the latter here, and tell you that the book is a fascinating and witty look at America's Chinese restaurant subculture (a whole chapter is devoted to the infamous Kosher duck scandal at Rockville's Golden Dragon). She sets out to trace the origins of the fortune cookie, and along the way visits Chinese restaurants in almost every part of the United States, exploring questions such as why Jews love Chinese food on Christmas, why most soy sauce doesn’t contain actual soy, and what the greatest Chinese restaurant in the world is. Stiff author Mary Roach described it as “Anthony Bourdain meets Calvin Trillin.” Not bad for a girl who, when she lived here a few years ago, was best known for her boldface-name-studded parties.
On Monday, March 17 at noon, Lee will read at the Library of Congress's Mumford Room (Sixth floor, Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., SE). Free.
At 7 PM on March 17, Lee makes an appearance at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue (600 I St., NW). Tickets are $6; If you buy the book at Politics & Prose (5015 Connecticut Ave., NW), you'll get two tickets for free.
And on Thursday, March 20 at 11 AM, you'll find Lee chatting live right here on Washingtonian.com. Submit a question ahead of time here.