Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Making A Fortune


It's Fortune Cookie Day!

I'm reminded of Rodney Dangerfield's old joke
    I opened a fortune cookie and inside was the guy's cheque next to me I said "hey buddy I got your cheque" he said "thanks"


The cookies are said to be based off of a Japanese food known as tsujiura senbei. They were sweetened up for American tastes and the novel idea of receiving a fortune was also added.

The origins of these cookies is a somewhat spotty one. One suggested origin claims that David Jung, a Chinese immigrant living in Los Angeles, invented the cookie in 1918. They were made because he was concerned about the poor he saw wandering near his shop. He set about creating the cookie and passed them out free on the streets. Each cookie contained a strip of paper with an inspirational Bible scripture on it, written for Jung by a Presbyterian minister.

Others claim that a Japanese immigrant named Makoto Hagiwara launched them in San Francisco. Hagiwara designed the famous Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. An anti-Japanese mayor fired him from his job around the turn of the century, but later a new mayor reinstated him. Grateful to those who backed him and pushed for his reinstatement, Hagiwara created a cookie in 1914 that included a thank you note inside. He passed them out at the Japanese Tea Garden, and began serving them there regularly. In 1915, they were displayed at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, San Francisco's world fair.

The matter was "settled" in 1983 by San Francisco's Court of Historical Review. They held a mock trial to determine the origins of the fortune cookie. Surprise, surprise, they picked the San Francisco origin as the valid one. Included among the evidence was a fortune cookie whose message read: "S.F. Judge who rules for L.A. Not Very Smart Cookie." Equally unsurprising, Los Angeles has denounced the ruling. Whatever the origins, we are now accustomed to the strange sayings and lottery numbers in our after dinner cookies.

Fortune cookies were originally made by hand using chopsticks. In 1964, Edward Louie of San Francisco's Lotus Fortune Cookie Company, automated the process by creating a machine that folds the dough and slips in the fortune. Today, the world's largest fortune cookie manufacturer, Wonton Food Inc. of Long Island City, Queens ships out 60 million cookies a month.

They have become so commonplace that there are web-based fortune cookie sites aplenty. My favourite is lurking at badcookie.com.

So three cheers for the fortune cookie, a staple at Chinese restaurants that is as Chinese as maple syrup or apple pie.

What was the strangest thing you've ever seen in a fortune cookie? My prize winner has to be this one

31 Comments:

Blogger Rae Ann said...

What a great post! I can't recall the strangest message I've gotten from a cookie.

8:59:00 AM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

I checked out badcookie.com Unbelievable, they have me down pat... I was so afriad I'd get a good fortune. lol

9:15:00 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

I cant remember ever having good luck from a fortune cookie.Im going to go check out that site.

11:22:00 AM  
Blogger ramblin' girl said...

love fortune cookies... most of the fortunes are strange... otherwise it wouldn't be as fun to add the typical phrase to the end of each one!

11:34:00 AM  
Blogger katie said...

I don't really remember any good ones I have gotten, but I always add "In bed" to the end, so they always end up positive!

11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Celti said...

Hey! Badcookie.com generated some pretty miserable and insulting fortunes for me. Bad, bad cookie!!

The strangest one I ever got said "happiness is sucking pussy." I am NOT kidding. I was shocked into giggling like an idiot.

1:07:00 PM  
Blogger That Girl said...

i have these two hanging at my desk here at work. they are a few years old, but the funniest i've gotten:

constant grinding can turn an iron rod into a needle.

birds are entangled by their feet and men by their tongues.

...don't forget to add "in bed" at the end!

1:52:00 PM  
Blogger Cody said...

I just went to the recomended site an because I can not remember any in my past life....this one said....

You will attract uncultered people to your home.

I looked in the mirror and with my hand over my mouth, poise almost, said "OH dear..."

2:32:00 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

I think mine was you will come into money very soon. Never happened though, at least, not in the 5 years since!

3:25:00 PM  
Blogger GlitterGlamGirl05 said...

My fortunes never come true...so I take adding "in bed" at the end to make them fun.

5:24:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

wow, i've enever even had one of those.

6:56:00 PM  
Blogger Kassi said...

Chinese restaurants down here don't hand out fortune cookies ... I'm feeling deprived and going to check out that site ...

7:03:00 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

That very interesting! I don't remember any really odd fortunes. A friend of mine once got a cookie with NO fortune in it! We still tease her about that one.

7:38:00 PM  
Blogger Caribbean Colors said...

Ooooohhhh BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
My fortune at Badcookie.com was:
You will have difficulty finding new outlets for your own minor creative abilities.
Thanks Rainy Pete for ruining my life. :-) Jess messin wicha.
Actually telling me I can't do something or that its too hard makes me want to do it all the more.

12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

I had chinese the other day and the server brought out the cookies and mine hade 2 fortunes with 2 different set of lottery numbers.
So which one should I play I thought. I decided to play both and then forgot to play them.
You know what they both lost.
Have a nice day. :)

1:10:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I LOVE getting fortune cookies! I can't remember any that stand out in particular but I know I used to collect the really good ones (aka the ones I could understand...some of them can be so darn cryptic!!!) Now I'm off to badcookie to find out my fortune! :)

10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I'm back...my fortune for today was:

YOU CANNOT FALL OFF THE FLOOR"

Dang...I should hope not...;)

10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Katya said...

i have never had a fortune cookie its not a big thing over here...

:0(

11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Katya said...

and i'm sure you can register for stuff from JD...lol

;0)

11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Lady Wyntir said...

We also add the "in bed" suffix to have our laughs. I can't remember the clever ones though.

I do have one laminated (between two pieces of scotch tape hee hee) on my monitor at work:

:) You have at your command the wisdom of the ages. :)
numbers on the back: 12 24 49 42 48 27

Some of our fortune cookies have "Learn Chinese" in the back.

I came here through Denny's blog when you mentioned in a P.S. that you were listening to Phantom. ^_^

Long live the Paris Opera House

~wyn

1:35:00 PM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

I avoid chinese food so I haven't had a whole lot of fortunes. Maybe that's what my problem is?! LOL.

That being said...thanks for the education on fortune cookies!

2:11:00 PM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

OK, just went to the site...I got "You are not one of the people that 'goes places in life'".

Whatthehell does that mean? lol.

2:12:00 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I got:

"Always remember to pillage before you burn."

Well, duh...

2:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ms Vile File said...

My bad cookie said;

"To get what you want, you must commit yourself forever to dark forces."

Very wise, and so true. It's always worked for me.

4:34:00 PM  
Blogger Celti said...

Bah! Poo poo on Bad Cookie! It said I have any ugly heart and I'm well despised. *pout*

4:52:00 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

The old cookies "Love is good" and "You have good luck" and "Luck is super number 1 lucky" were getting kinda boring. I like the new ones that say "Learn Chinese: car = dingdong" or whatever the Chinese word is for car. They're awesome!

5:59:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

My fortune: Now is not the time to try somehing new.

I live by that.

6:07:00 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

We don't get fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants here. But I do like the fortune in the photo.

1:09:00 AM  
Blogger ...just-rambling... said...

My last fortune cookie read, "you will travel far and wide, both for business and for pleasure". I haven't traveled anywhere since. Maybe I had the wrong cookie.

2:00:00 PM  
Blogger SquirrleyMojo said...

can't believe i missed fortune cookie day.

3:06:00 PM  
Blogger glomgold said...

I think my best two were "You are the greatest person in the world" and "your love of gardening knows no bounds".

6:50:00 PM  

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