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Why Chinese Food is Really American

New York Times Reporter Jennifer 8. Lee
Speaks at Nixon Library March 29 at 2:30 p.m.

March 16, Yorba Linda, CA—Chinese food has been a feature of American life for more than a hundred years, but few know how American this cuisine really is. New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee explains the history of Chinese food in the United States in a talk drawn from her new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on March 29 at 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Lee reviews the best Chinese restaurants in the world, takes readers to the villages where workers for U.S. Chinese restaurants come from, reveals the true story of General Tso, and discovers the secret history of the fortune cookie itself (it’s not from China!). She also explains the difference between the Chinese food eaten in China and Chinese food in the United States—and how Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Beijing sparked a new era of American interest in all things Chinese.

“Part of the Nixon Library’s mission is to foster a public interest in history of all kinds,” Nixon Library director Tim Naftali said. “We’re thrilled to be hosting a cutting-edge journalist who’s also a gourmet for the Facebook generation. Her tasty tour of cultural history is a reminder that our past is made by people as often as it is made by presidents.”

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles has been featured on The Colbert Report, Food and Wine, Every Day with Rachel Ray, and Maxim. The Chicago Tribune calls the book “an information-packed page turner” and the Los Angeles Times says that it “demonstrates that the true melting pot of America is its food.”

About the Nixon Library: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, a nonpartisan federal institution, is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration. For more information, contact (714) 983-9120 or visit

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