Awesome Fortune Cookie Message

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We had a great lunch with friends the other day- probably the closest to authentic Beijing kaoya I’ve had in the states. And in line with American-Chinese food, we got fortune cookies. As an interesting aside, fortune cookies don’t exist in China and are in fact an American invention. As wiki notes:

Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is reported to have been the first person in the USA 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 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.

Seiichi 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 restaurants.

Up to around World War II, fortune cookies were known as “fortune tea cakes”—likely reflecting their origins in Japanese tea cakes.”

I had a few acquaintances in China who even asked me about them and requested I bring them a few if I had the opportunity, ha ha. While most of my fortunes are so general to be applicable to anyone, I found this one fitting and also, encouraging, ha ha. Hope everyone is having a great Sunday!

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