Who Writes This Stuff?

Fortune Cookie Day is September 13th. We are already lucky. The 13th isn’t a Friday.

When dining out, fortune cookies are an essential benediction to an Asian meal. While these confections are associated with Chinese restaurants, they probably were the creation of Makoto Hagiwara at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco in 1914. Other sources suggest that David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company, was the first to make fortune cookies in Los Angeles in the 1920s. No matter who invented it, most people agree the original cookie issued its first fortune right here in America. 

The cookies are made of egg white, flour, water, sugar, salt and flavoring. They are simple to make. Google fortunecookiessoeasyrecipe for instructions. It’s almost like baking thin pancakes. The hard part is squeezing a tiny little calligrapher inside the folded cookie to write the inscriptions.

The sayings vary in subject matter, covering everything from a fortune to a pearl of wisdom to a wish for good luck to a philosophical gem to a horoscope.

And who among us, after reading a ridiculous fortune, hasn’t announced, “Who writes this stuff?” No one ever takes credit. 

And with good reason. Chances are, the sayings are written by non-English speakers. They lose a lot in translation; for example, “Silence is a virtual. Especially Dinner time, from telemarketers.” Or, “Actions speak louder than talks.” 

For a laugh, check out Unfortunate Cookies online. These are grumpy, pointless, or irreverent one-liners for the super-cynical among us.

If you want to serve your own fortune cookies, but don’t want to prepare them, companies will be happy to customize them for parties, weddings, reunions, whatever. Google custom fortune cookies for more info.

So make a date to eat Chinese September 13th. And ask for an extra cookie, in case the first one reads: “You just ate an endangered species.” Or, “Avoid gambling” followed by lottery numbers. And yeah, who writes this stuff?