I Hate Statement Cookies
I've noticed an unwelcome trend with my fortune cookies over the past few years. The messages inside could best be described as statements, not fortunes.
Example: "Patience is the key to joy"
That's no fortune, that's a statement.
"He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at."
"Love is a present worth giving every day you live."
"Some men dream of fortunes, others dream of cookies."
"You will soon inherit a large amount of money."
Of the three billion-plus fortune cookies made yearly in the world, almost all are produced (and consumed?) in the United States.
I recently came across an article in the New York Times, where a folklore and history graduate student at Kanagawa University (outside of Tokyo) has spent more than six years trying to establish the Japanese origin of the fortune cookie. It turns out she's probably right.
Her prime pieces of evidence are the generations-old small family bakeries making obscure fortune cookie-shaped crackers by hand near a temple outside Kyoto. She has also turned up many references to the cookies in Japanese literature and history, including an 1878 image of a man making them in a bakery - decades before the first reports of American fortune cookies.
The idea that fortune cookies come from Japan is counterintuitive, to say the least. "I am surprised," said Derrick Wong, the vice president of the largest fortune cookie manufacturer in the world, Wonton Food, based in Brooklyn. “People see it and think of it as a Chinese food dessert, not a Japanese food dessert,” he said. But, he conceded, “The weakest part of the Chinese menu is dessert.”
NYT login usernames and passwords: http://www.bugmenot.com/view/www.nytimes.com