Three billion. That’s how many fortune cookies are made every year, to satisfy our craving for a surprise in a secret compartment.
I don’t know anyone who can resist snapping open that crisp little cookie to see what the slip of paper says. In recent years I’ve noticed these have become “advice” cookies more than fortune cookies, and I’m always disappointed when it says to hold my tongue (ha!) or to get more exercise (double ha!) when what I really want to hear is that I’m going on a fabulous vacation.
Though I have visited the tiny Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in an inauspicious alley in San Francisco, this is not where they originated. People argue over how these cookies actually came to be, but they all agree it was not the Chinese, but the Japanese who came up with the idea. Apparently these confections don’t even exist in China.
I tried to make some once, containing my own personalized fortunes. But you have to fold them while they’re still hot, which means you can only bake two or three at a time without a machine. Always think twice when a recipe says, “Working quickly.” I finally threw the fortunes in the trash, along with the cooled and broken remnants of my great idea.
I finally just served purchased cookies that I dipped in white chocolate and then crushed peppermints. They were immediately better-- but then what isn't improved, if you dip it in white chocolate?
Even without a chocolate coating, we love to get our cookie at the end of a Chinese meal. We know some poor lackey is making up the messages in the back room, yet we cannot resist reading it and wondering if it will come true. Maybe that’s what I like about fortune cookies- - they let us be a kid again for a couple of minutes. And that’s worth more than all the tea in China.
A good book is in your future! Order one here and find lifelong happiness. J