A fortune cookie is a crisp, sugary cookie with a piece of paper inside, generally an aphorism or a vague prophecy, commonly made with flour, sugar, vanilla, and sesame seed oil. A Chinese phrase with translation and/or a list of lucky numbers utilized by some as lottery numbers may also be included in the message. Fortune cookies are a popular dessert in Chinese restaurants across the United States, Canada, and other countries, however, they are not Chinese. The original origin of fortune cookies is unknown, while they are credited to several immigrant groups in California in the early twentieth century. They were most likely created by Japanese immigrants to the United States in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. The Japanese version was served with tea and omitted the Chinese fortunate digits.
A biscuit somewhat similar to the current fortune cookie was created in Kyoto, Japan, as early as the 19th century, and there is a Japanese temple practice of random fortunes called omikuji. The Japanese version of the cookie is somewhat larger, has a darker dough, and uses sesame and miso instead of vanilla and butter in the batter. They have a fortune on them, however, it was pushed into the curve of the biscuit rather than placed within the hollow area. Tsujiura senbei is a type of cookie that is still offered in select parts of Japan, particularly in Kanazawa, Ishikawa. It’s also available at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari-Taisha temple district.
When Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco served the current version of the cookie in the 1890s or early 1900s, he is said to have been the first person in the United States to do so. Benkyodo, a San Francisco bakery, created the fortune cookies.
David Jung, the creator of the Los Angeles-based Hong Kong Noodle Company, claims to have invented the biscuit in 1918. In 1983, the Court of Historical Review in San Francisco attempted to resolve the conflict. During the trial, a fortune cookie with the message “S.F. Judge who rules for L.A. Not Very Smart Cookie” was produced as a major piece of evidence. The cookie began with Hagiwara, according to a federal judge on the Court of Historical Review, who decided in favor of San Francisco. The city of Los Angeles subsequently criticized the ruling.
Seiichi Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, also claims to be the inventor of the cookie. Kito believes that he received the idea of placing a message in a cookie from Omikuji (fortune slips) offered at Japanese temples and shrines. According to his tale, he sold his cookies to Chinese eateries in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where they were met with great enthusiasm before spreading.
Fortune cookies were once called “fortune tea cakes” until about World War II, owing to their origins in Japanese tea cakes.
Around World War II, fortune cookies shifted from being a Japanese-American treat to being controlled by Chinese-Americans. One idea is that this happened as a result of the Japanese American internment during WWII, which forced over 100,000 Japanese-Americans, including fortune cookie makers, into internment camps. Chinese producers were given an opportunity as a result of this.
Before the early twentieth century, all fortune cookies were created by hand. After Shuck Yee of Oakland, California invented the fortune cookie machine, the fortune cookie industry altered tremendously. The machine enabled mass manufacture of fortune cookies, lowering their price and allowing them to become the novelty and courtesy dessert that many Americans are familiar with today after meals at most Chinese restaurants.
Every year, some 3 billion fortune cookies are produced around the world, with the most majority being consumed in the United States. Wonton Food, Inc., based in Brooklyn, New York, is the major producer of the cookies. Every day, they produce around 4.5 million fortune cookies. Baily International in the Midwest and Peking Noodle in Los Angeles are two more significant makers. Tsue Chong Co. in Seattle, Keefer Court Food in Minneapolis, Sunrise Fortune Cookie in Philadelphia, and Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco are among the smaller, local makers. Custom fortunes are also available from a number of smaller businesses.
Although manufacturing procedures differ amongst factories, they all follow a similar pattern. In a big tank, the ingredients (usually flour, sugar, vanilla, and sesame seed oil) are mixed and squirted onto fast-moving trays. These are heated and work like a conveyor belt to cook the dough. To mould and cook cookies, they are crushed using round hot plates. The cookies are moulded after baking for about one minute. They can be folded by hand or automatically formed. A machine folds the cookie into the correct orientation with the fortune inside when it is automated. The cookies are wrapped in plastic wrappers after they have cooled and solidified, and they are then examined before being delivered to be served.
The message inside may include a list of lucky numbers that some people use as lottery numbers; because there are so few distinct messages written, the lottery had an unexpectedly large number of winners sharing a prize in the reported case where winning numbers were printed. In 2005, authorities looked into Wonton Food after 110 Powerball lottery players won $19 million using the “lucky numbers” on the back of fortunes.
Fortune biscuits are occasionally utilised in marketing campaigns. For example, fortune cookie slips with quotes from the film’s protagonist were used to promote Kung Fu Panda 3.
Fortune cookies were allegedly imported and sold as “authentic American fortune cookies” in Hong Kong in 1989.
In 1992, Wonton Food attempted to extend its fortune cookie business into China, but was unsuccessful because fortune cookies were deemed “too American.”
The contents and nutritional value of cookies vary depending on the maker. A single cookie comprises approximately 80–130 kilojoules (20–30 kilocalories) of dietary energy and 5–7 g of total carbs. A cookie may include sugar ranging from 0–3 g, salt ranging from 2–8 mg, and considerable levels of iron or protein (in relation to its size). Because of their diminutive size, they have a low nutritional value.
Around the world
While fortune cookies are most commonly associated with the United States, they have also been offered in Chinese restaurants in Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and other countries. They are served in Peruvian chifas, which are Chinese-Peruvian fusion restaurants.
There are also multi-cultural fortune cookie variations. For example, the “Lucky Taco,” a red taco-shaped cookie with a fortune inside, is a Mexican variant of the fortune cookie. A “Lucky Cannoli,” inspired by Italian cannolis, is made by the same business that manufactures the Lucky Taco.
Westerners sometimes think of fortune cookies as a stereotype of East Asians. “I believe it has something to do with how people perceive Asians. They consider food. Because it is their sole point of contact with the Asian-American community or awareness of it, “Andrew Kang, a senior staff attorney at the Asian-American Institute in Chicago, said[when? In news coverage, the Asian American Journalists Association advises against identifying ethnic meals with Asian Americans.
Translations of name
Because the cookies are American in origin, they are commonly referred to as fortune cookies in English.
The biscuits have no universally approved Chinese name, and a wide range of phrases are used to describe them in Chinese, all of which are more-or-less literal translations of the English “fortune cookie.” Xngyùn qin bng “good luck lot cookie,” qin y bng “fortune words cookie,” xngyùn bng “good luck cookie,” xngyùn qin y bng “lucky fortune words cookie,” xngyùn qin y bng “lucky fortune words cookie,” xngyùn qin y bng “lucky fortune words
In popular culture
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In Amy Tan’s 1989 novel The Joy Luck Club, a couple of Chinese immigrant women find work at a fortune cookie factory in America, the fortune cookie’s non-Chinese origin is comically highlighted. They are fascinated by the strange concept of a fortune cookie, but after several amusing attempts to translate the fortunes into Chinese, they conclude that the pastries convey “poor instruction” rather than wisdom.
Fortune cookies have become a cultural icon in the United States,[according to whom?] inspiring a slew of goods. There’s jewellery in the shape of fortune cookies, a Magic 8 Ball in the shape of a fortune cookie, and silver-plated fortune cookies.
Fortune cookies appear in the American fantasy comedy film Freaky Friday, where the cookie’s fate supports the film’s theme.
An unsuccessful writer finds success penning fortunes for fortune cookies in Allen Wheelis’s short storey “The Signal,” first published in 1966.