It takes me a while to catch up with things, sometimes, which is why I have only just watched Jennifer 8 Lee’s stunning talk at Taste3, transmitted through TedTalks. This was magnificent, everything a presentation should be. Packed with information, brilliantly illustrated (I’d like to see all the slides, with just her voice, as the audience must have), and wonderfully entertaining.

Watch it, at Ted.

Again, in the realm of catch-up, Lee’s book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is something I'd heard a bit of buzz about, mostly in Seth Robert’s blog and, as a result, some economics blogs. Roberts links to a YouTube video that looks like a longer version of the Ted Talk; it will have to wait. But having now seen one talk, I think I’m going to have to read the book, and Lee’s blog might be worth keeping an eye on too.1

I haven’t said much about the content; that’s deliberate. But I did like one story. One day in 2005, 110 people shared a single lottery win. Statistically as black a swan as you can imagine. At first, lottery folk thought the fix was in. But no. Almost all the winners had bet on the same numbers, as recommended by a fortune cookie. And fortune cookies aren’t even Chinese originally. Almost no “Chinese” food is. That’s Lee’s point, or at least one of them.

I wonder, has anyone in the UK done as good a job on Indian food?


  1. 2022-01-27: That's the big dissapointment; it no longer exists. The site remains, but there's absolutely no content. On the other hand, Jennifer 8. Lee has gone from strength to strength, though no more blogging that I can see. 

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