Claim: Fortune cookies originated in China.
Origins: Most folks know the game of adding “in bed” to the reading of slips retrieved from their fortune cookies (e.g., “An interesting business opportunity will soon present
Many different people have been asserted as the true inventor of the fortune cookie. In 1983 a mock court battle was held between the two primary claimants of this honor, one from
Fortune cookies might not even have been invented by someone Chinese: the
Mock trial result or not, it’s impossible to authoritatively state precisely where, when, or by whom the fortune cookie was invented. Certainly by World
However, what cannot be denied is fortune cookies didn’t originally come from China. Prior to the late-1980s, visitors to that land intent upon finding “real” Chinese fortune cookies came away sadly disappointed, as the confections were virtually unknown there. In 1989 an entrepreneur in Hong Kong began importing fortune cookies and selling them as luxury items in a chain of fancy delicatessens, advertising them as “Genuine American Fortune Cookies.” In 1992 Brooklyn-based Wonton Food expanded its existing fortune cookie business into China, building the very first fortune cookie factory in that land, but that project was short-lived. Said Richard Leung, the company’s vice-president: “It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it just didn’t pan out. Fortune cookies are too American.”
Barbara “apple pie logic” Mikkelson
Last updated: 9 June 2008
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