Author Cracks Open Calif. Fortune Cookie Battle

Chinese rejection sparks food fight for bragging rights
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2008 7:38 PM CDT
Jennifer Lee is the author of a new book about the origin of the fortune cookie, "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles."   (AP Photo/Nina Subin,Twelve Books)
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(Newser) – The fortune cookie caps any good Chinese meal in America, and Los Angeles and San Francisco both claim credit for it, Steve Harvey writes in the Los Angeles Times. Angelenos say an LA restaurateur invented the famed wafer in 1918, while their neighbors to the north insist an official gave them to supporters in 1907. Now, author Jennifer 8. Lee says bragging rights belong to the East.

For her book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Lee has dug up a 19th-century print showing a Japanese man making the cookies. She writes that later generations brought the idea to America, where Chinese immigrants soon co-opted it after WWII. The treat may be popular, but one Chinese traditionalist scoffs at the cookie as “too American a concept."