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The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is a book authored by Jennifer 8. Lee. The book is about the history of Chinese food in America and around the world. The history of Chinese food in United States begins with not so favorable treatment of initial Chinese immigrants to America. 8. Lee was born in New York City in 1976 to parents from China. At birth, she was not given a middle name hence as a teenager, she chose her middle name to be “8.” Among the Chinese people, eight is a number that symbolizes smart luck and prosperity.
This essay will focus on discussing how Chinese food demonstrates that American culture is shaped by the backgrounds and experiences of people from around the world. The essay will also discuss ways in which we need to understand American culture and society within a global perspective.
Chinese food demonstrates that American culture is shaped by the backgrounds and experiences of people from around the world. In America there are more Chinese restaurants than Burger Kings, Wendys and McDonalds combined. Chinese immigrants were drawn to America by the Gold Rush. When immigrants from china relocate to America, many are likely to work in restaurants. They are likely to work in restaurants because the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was enacted between 1882 and 1902, closed many job opportunities to Chinese in America. The act closed down Chinese immigration to America and this brought an end to economic competition between whites and Chinese immigrants. After inaction of the act, Chinese immigrants were left with few options economically. The Chinese began to do jobs such as cleaning and cookin. They therefore started laundries and restaurants. Chop suey was in invented by a Chinese person in America. Chop Suey is a dish whose native is not China; it was invented in a manner that catered to American tastes. The origin of Chinese cookie is not China but probably originated in Japan.
Most workers in Chinese restaurants in America are from Fujian province in China. The restaurant workers are from different continents and countries. For example, in a Chinese restaurant in America, there is a mother working while her children are in South America where they are raised by grandparents. Most of the Chinese workers in American restaurants send their children back to China because they are too busy to care to care for them.
There are ways in which we can understand American culture and society within a global perspective. One way in which we can understand the American culture and society within a global perspective is through immigration. There are many immigrants in America. The parents of Jennifer Lee arrived in America in 1965 through the courtesy of Immigration Reform Act. The act opened ways to skilled and educated workers to enter America. Many of the migrants went to the restaurant business because cooking was regarded as women’s work. During the early days of immigration to America by the educated Chinese, they faced Xenophobia. The educated and skilled immigrants were a threat to natives in America because the natives felt that the foreigners wanted to prosper by owning American land. In the recent years, there are many people who across borders illegally just to get to America and work in restaurants. Some of the immigrants even learn English to help them communicate in restaurants. Most of the Chinese immigrants work in New York City.
Another way in which we can understand American culture and society within a global perspective is through nutrition. Nowadays, around the world and in America, most people rely on fast foods from McDonalds and Chinese restaurants. Fast food refers to foods which are prepared and served in a short time. The majority of Chinese restaurants are mom and pop shops and not much like fast food chains. Most of the Chinese restaurants offer a similar experience. Jennifer 8. Lee asks “What Chinese restaurant menu lack sesame chicken, egg rolls, fried wontons, egg drop soup, and beef with broccoli. Chinese food around the world and in America has been localized. Most of the chefs, owners and operators in the Chinese restaurants lack professional culinary experience since they are emigrants in search of a business opportunity. Chinese food is fully engrained in American cuisine. Even though Chinese food is engrained in cuisines around the world, almost all the popular Chinese foods are not available in the original country, China.
Another way in which we can understand American culture and society within a global perspective is through identity. The Fortune Cookie Chronicle was the ultimate search for Jennifer 8 identity. The book, Fortune Cookie Chronicles has revelations about identity. When doing research about Chinese foods Jennifer Lee learnt her identity. It helped her in understanding her place in the context of Chinese Diaspora. By visiting China, Lee realized that the Chinese food in America is really American and not Chinese (Jennifer, 45).