WRITTEN BY ALEXIA GAUTIER

How did the fortune cookies that are presented as a finale with a bill at the end of a meal in Chinese restaurants come about, and where are they now?

Most people seem to believe that fortune cookies originated in ancient Asia, and that within the Asian culture, fortune cookies were “enchanted”.

Fortune cookies were actually created in the United States, and do not have any traditional ancient history.

Since World War II, fortune cookies have been served with American Chinese cuisine. The person who came up with the fortune cookie is unknown. However, there are many theories.

A man named Makoto Hagiwara of a public park in California, called Golden Gate Park, was in charge of the Japanese Tea Garden. Hagiwara claims he was the first person in the United States to serve fortune cookies at his tea garden in the early 1900s.

Another man that claimed to be the creator of the cookie was a man named David Jung. Jung was the founder of The Hong Kong Noodle Company in San Francisco, California (a manufacturer for noodles, wrappers, and chinese specialty goods). He claimed to have invented the cookie in 1918.

Before World War II, fortune cookies were commonly known as “fortune tea cakes”. Post- war, the cookie was known as “fortune cooky” before changing it to the proper English spelling “fortune cookie”.

How do they get the fortune into the cookie anyway? You can’t put the paper in the oven. How did they get that little slip of paper into the cookie?

Fortune cookies start out as tiny pancakes, and while they are still warm, they are folded in half, the sides are pressed downward, and the cookie cools off. Before the cookie is folded, the paper fortune is placed inside the cookie.

Until the year 1964, fortune cookies were made by hand. Today, the fortune cookie- making process is completely mechanized, from the pouring of the batter, and fortune placement to the folding and baking of the cookies.

An estimated 3 billion fortune cookies are made each year around the world. Today, they have gone global and are manufactured by Wonton Foods Incorporated located in Brooklyn, New York. Wonton Food Inc. has been known to be the largest manufacturer of noodles, chopsticks and of course, fortune cookies!

Fortune cookies carry anything from quotes to advice. Within each cookie, there are also words, an english word translated in Chinese, and lucky numbers.

A popular place that sells a variety of gourmet fortune cookies with a captivating twist is The Chocolate Covered Company. Whether you favor your fortune cookie to be dipped in dark chocolate, adorned with crumbled Oreos, pink sprinkles, or macadamia nuts, the choice is all yours! Each fortune cookie is individually wrapped, and can include a personalized fortune. What a unique way to put a twist on the plain fortune cookie we have all been consuming for years. These are an exquisite, yet tasty party favors that can be sold by the dozen.

A less expensive alternative, if you hosting a special occasion such as a birthday party, anniversary, housewarming, baby shower, or just a girls night, you can make your very own specialized fortune cookies at home in a short period of time. Most likely, you already have most of the ingredients in your home.

What does your fortune say?

xiangshòu = Enjoy!

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