why do the chinese eat fortune cookies

As far back as the 19th century, a cookie very similar in appearance to the modern fortune cookie was made in
; and there is a Japanese temple tradition of random fortunes, called. 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. This kind of cookie is called senbei and is still sold in some regions of Japan, especially in. It is also sold in the neighborhood of shrine in Kyoto. of 's in San Francisco is reported to have been the first person in the U. S. to have served the modern version of the cookie when he did so at the tea garden in the 1890s or early 1900s. The fortune cookies were made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo. David Jung, founder of the in, has made a competing claim that he invented the cookie in 1918. San Francisco's 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. Seiichi Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do of 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 (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 and areas. Thus Kito's main claim is that he is responsible for the cookie being so strongly associated with Chinese restaurants. [ Up to around World War II, fortune cookies were known as "fortune tea cakes"вlikely reflecting their origins in Japanese tea cakes. Fortune cookies moved from being a confection dominated by Japanese-Americans to one dominated by Chinese-Americans sometime around World War II. One theory for why this occurred is because of the during World War II, which forcibly put over 100,000 Japanese-Americans in internment camps, including those who had produced fortune cookies. This gave an opportunity for Chinese manufacturers. Fortune cookies before the early 20th century were all made by hand. However, the fortune cookie industry changed dramatically after the fortune cookie machine was invented by Shuck Yee from. 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. Rumors that fortune cookies were invented in China are seen as false. In 1989, fortune cookies were reportedly imported into Hong Kong and sold as "genuine American fortune cookies".


Wonton Food attempted to expand its fortune cookie business into China in 1992, but gave up after fortune cookies were considered "too American". [ who? view the mooncake hidden message system that was used in the Ming revolution to be a precursor to the modern day fortune cookie. By adding the covert element to the myths of the fortune cookie some have found more meaning behind the simple treat. This led to the act of removing and replacing the fortune inside without breaking for an added bit of good luck. [ With the Olympics kicking off in China last week, we decided to take a look at an item that many Americans see as a symbol of Chinese culture: the fortune cookie. These bite-sized desserts have become a staple of Chinese cuisine in the United States, doling out words of wisdom to thousands of restaurant-goers every day. ABC News' Juju Chang visited the largest fortune cookie factory in the world -- Wonton Foods, based in Queens, N. Y. , which churns out about 4. 5 million cookies a day. What goes into these sweet treats? A simple mix of flour, sugar and vanilla or citrus flavoring makes the batter. On the assembly line, the mix is spread out, the fortunes inserted, and the cookie molded into its signature shape. Juju grabbed one fresh off the griddle. "It's still hot! Mmmm в smells so good. " She read the fortune: "'A romantic evening awaits youв' Not bad! " Just whose job is it to come up with all those bits of wisdom? Wonton's Derrick Wong says that for them, a retired history professor in New York leads a team of freelance writers who come up with fresh fortunes. "We have about over 10,000 fortunes in the data bank, and we rotate about 1,500," said Wong.


But the origin of the fortune cookie itself is a more complicated story. We turned to Jenny Lee, author of "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles," to help us figure out their patrilineage. Lee's take on the matter? "A lot of Americans think that what we're eating here is 'Chinese,' but in fact most Chinese people don't recognize things like beef and broccoli or fortune cookies or General Tao chicken or even egg rolls. " Could it be that fortune cookies aren't even served in China? "They're not served in China," said Lee. "As a matter of fact, I actually brought a bunch of fortune cookies to China and gave them to Chinese people, who were very confused. " That's right -- the fortune cookie is not Chinese at all. They were actually invented in Japan, and then migrated to U. S. Japanese restaurants in California in the early 1900's. Chinese restaurants started mass-producing them across the U. S. only after World War II. Jenny Lee offers a challenge to what we might think of as an American classic. "I actually argue that fortune cookies are American, because we always say that our benchmark for American is apple pie, but you should ask yourself how often do you eat apple pie versus how often do you eat a fortune cookie? " So why do Americans love fortune cookies so much? "It's a little bit of life philosophy in a bite-size chunk," answered Lee. Now there's some food for thought.

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