Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jennifer 8. Lee (March 15, 1976)

You don't have to be Jewish to be a secular Jewish hero! Here's an example: Jennifer 8. Lee, a Chinese-American woman, wrote The Fortune Cookie Chronicles in which she explored the social history and cultural aspects of Chinese restaurants in America. One chapter is titled "Why Chow Mein is the Chosen Food of the Chosen People" and discusses the American-Jewish love of Chinese restaurants and Chinese food. Her claim: "Chinese food is the ethnic cuisine of the American Jew since they identify with it much more than the Eastern European food of their immigrant ancestors."

I've followed up what she says with additional reading about the subject, and it's very interesting and amusing to learn that by the end of the 19th century, Jewish religious authorities were complaining because Chinese restaurants were contributing to the secularization of American Jewish life. Yay!

No comments:

Post a Comment