Click on the image below to crack your Love Fortune Cookie.
(Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
fortune cookie is a crisp cookie made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil
with a "fortune" wrapped inside. A "fortune" is a piece of paper with words
of faux wisdom or a vague prophecy. In the United states of America and
Canada (although also available in other parts of the Western world), it is
usually served with Chinese food in Chinese restaurants as a dessert. The
message inside may also include a list of lucky numbers (used by some as
lottery numbers) and a Chinese phrase with translation. Fortune cookies in
their current form were first served in California by immigrants who based
the cookie on a traditional Japanese cracker. The cookies are little-known
in mainland China or Taiwan.
Origin. As far back as the 19th
century, a cookie very similar in appearance to the American Fortune cookie
was made in Kyoto, Japan, and there is a Japanese temple tradition of random
fortunes, called omikuji. The Japanese version of the cookie differs in
several ways: they are a little bit larger; are made of darker dough; and
their batter contains sesame and miso rather than vanilla and butter. They
contain a fortune; however, the small slip of paper was wedged into the bend
of the cookie rather than placed inside the hollow portion.
the people who claim to have introduced the cookie to the United States are
Japanese, so the theory is that these bakers were modifying a cookie design
which they were aware of from their days in Japan.
Makoto Hagiwara of
Golden Gate Park's Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is reported to have
been the first person in America to have served the American version of the
cookie when he did so at the tea garden in 1890s or early 1900s. The fortune
cookies were made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo.
founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, has made a competing
claim that he invented the cookie in 1918. San Francisco's mock Court of
Historical Review attempted to settle the dispute in 1983. During the
proceedings, a fortune cookie was introduced as a key piece of evidence with
a message reading, "S.F. Judge who rules for L.A. Not Very Smart Cookie". A
federal judge of the Court of Historical Review determined that the cookie
originated with Hagiwara and the court ruled in favor of San Francisco.
Subsequently, the city of Los Angeles condemned the decision.
Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, also claims
to have invented the cookie. Kito claims to have gotten the idea of putting
a message in a cookie from Omikuji (fortune slip) which are sold at temples
and shrines in Japan. According to his story, he sold his cookies to Chinese
restaurants where they were greeted with much enthusiasm in both the Los
Angeles and San Francisco areas. Thus Kito's main claim is that he is
responsible for the cookie being so strongly associated with Chinese
Fortune cookies before the early 20th century, however,
were all made by hand. The fortune cookie industry changed dramatically
after the fortune cookie machine was invented by Shuck Yee from Oakland,
California. The machine allowed for mass production of fortune cookies which
subsequently allowed the cookies to drop in price to become the novelty and
courtesy dessert many Americans are familiar with after their meals at most
Chinese restaurants today.
Chinese Legend. Although fortune cookies
are undoubtedly a modern invention, a legend has been developed and
circulated to explain their origins. According to this legend, in the 14th
century, when the Mongols ruled China, a revolutionary named Chu Yuan Chang
planned an uprising against them. He used moon cakes to pass along the date
of the uprising to the Chinese by replacing the yolk in the center of the
moon cake with the message written on rice paper. The Mongols did not care
for the yolks, so the plan went on successfully and the Ming Dynasty began.
It is claimed that the Moon Festival celebrates this with the tradition of
giving moon cakes with messages inside. Immigrant Chinese railroad workers,
without the ingredients to make regular moon cakes, made biscuits instead.
It is these biscuits that may have later inspired fortune cookies.
Etymology. The cookies are generally called by the English term fortune
cookies, even by Chinese Americans, as there is no standard Chinese term for
them. In the Chinese language, however, fortune cookie has been translated
variously as 幸运饼 xìngyùn bǐng "good luck cookie";
签语饼 qiān yǔ bǐng "label-words cookie";
幸运签饼 xìngyùn qiān bǐng "good luck label cookie";幸运签语饼
xìngyùn qiān yǔ bǐng "lucky label-words cookie";幸运甜饼
xìngyùn tián bǐng "good luck sweet cookie";幸福饼干 xìngfú
bǐnggān "happiness [dry] cookie";幸运饼干
xìngyùn bǐnggān"good luck [dry] cookie";幸运饼xìngyùn bǐng "good luck
cookie";幸运籤语饼xìngyùn qiān yǔ bǐng "good luck label-words
cookie";占卜饼 zhānbǔ bǐng "divine cookie".