The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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  • Fortune Cookies

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    My research is now part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.

    Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

    I stopped by the American history museum of the Smithsonian and was superexcited to see three objects that I have encountered in my research were now on exhibit and part of the museum’s permanent collection The kata grills from Gary Ono, which were used to make superearly fortune cookies in the Japanese Tea Garden in […]

    Fortune Cookie Seating

    Thursday, February 17th, 2011

    Shin Azumi for Lapalma has designed a fortune cookie-shaped chair which was presented at Imm Cologne 2011, though there has been some controversy about it since then. According to Swiss Miss, it is built from a single sheet of plywood. While it looks fragile, it’s actually incredibly stable, thanks to the clever weight distribution achieved via a specifically […]

    Like “A Year of Living Biblically,” but With Fortune Cookies

    Friday, January 7th, 2011

    Every day for a year, a writer, Matt Kelsey, is going to follow the advice of a fortune cookie and play the lucky numbers, to see if it really will make a difference. Here is his press release, which I was fascinated by in part because it’s on the Kansas City Star website. Sort of […]

    Wear Your Fortunes Around Your Neck! On Etsy.

    Friday, December 17th, 2010

    Love these fortune cookie fortune scarves on Etsy for $22. They read “Success is a journey, not a destination,” which is actually a fortune I have on a giant roll I got from Wonton Food.

    Fancy Fortune Cookies deal on Groupon!

    Saturday, November 27th, 2010

    I was amused to see that Fancy Fortune Cookies is doing a Groupon, $15 for $35 worth of cookies, in various cities. The owner of Fancy Fortune Cookies, Mike Fry, is a former Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus clown who had the vision of selling flavored fortune cookies come to him in a […]

    Fortune Cookie Fortune Nightstand

    Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

    In the guest room in Atlanta where I stayed. Total coincidence. The owner had been collecting them since she was young.

    Oops. Wrong Cookie?

    Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

    This fortune, which the host got during a taping of a PBS interview about my book, is one of the funnier fortunes I have gotten. It’s from Wonton Foods. Some fortune cookie writer had a sense of humor or was incredibly bored.

    Historic Fortune Cookie Grills Donated to the Smithsonian

    Friday, July 9th, 2010

    Breaking news! Gary Ono, who is descended from one of the earliest fortune cookie manufacturers, is donating historic fortune cookie grills, known as kata, to the Smithsonian — thanks to a connection I made. Armed with the contact information I gave the museum, research specialist Noriko Sanefuji went out to investigate and met Gary, who […]

    Homemade Fortune Cookies at the Smithsonian

    Sunday, May 16th, 2010

    Noriko Sanefuji of the Smithsonian made homemade fortune cookies for my visit to the Smithsonian using a recipe she had found. They were really fragile though, so only three survived, which she gave me.

    Beijing Fortune Cookie Exporters

    Thursday, April 29th, 2010

    I just got this e-mail sent to me on the contact form on my site. I find it amusing that they have been exporting for “many years” and that their cookies have “enjoyed popularity in both China and abroad” Dear Sir / Madam We wish to inform you that  We have been exporters of cookies for […]

    The Census is Coming To You Via Fortune Cookies

    Saturday, February 20th, 2010

    The Seattle Times is reporting the Census Department is using fortune cookies as a marketing device . Tsue Chong Co., a Seattle fortune company that also sells “unfortunate cookies”, is inserting five different census messages into 2 million cookies being shipped to restaurants and groceries across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. They have messages such […]

    One Thousand Marijuana Plants Found at Old Fortune Cookie Factory

    Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

    The Oakland Tribune has a great crime story about 1,000 marijuana plants — up to four feet tall — which were found at an old fortune cookie factory in Oakland. The estimated value? About half a million dollars. The factory, originally owned by the Kar Mee fortune cookie company, appears to be founded in 1977. […]

    Fortune Cookie Christmas Tree Ornaments

    Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

    Urban Outfitters is offering a fortune cookie Christmas ornament for sale online. I wonder what meaning it would derive from having a fortune cookie hanging on their pine tree.

    Now You Can Get Fortune Cookies on Your iPhone with a Ching Chong voice.

    Saturday, September 19th, 2009

    A new iPhone app called LuckyFortune now gives you a fortune cookie in your pocket. You can shake it and the cookie rolls around (real video, not CGI, the company said) and breaks to the sound of (of course) a gong. Then (yikes) this faux Chinese-y accent comes on and reads your fortune. It definitely […]

    Fortune Coo-keys!

    Sunday, August 30th, 2009

    Sent to me via Twitter by @ascottfalk.. “Fortune Cookeys” for keys. It reminds me that early spelling of fortune cookies was actually “fortune cooky” as of the 1950s. And before that “fortune tea cakes.” I wonder if the “fortune cooky” was an intentional or unintentional mis-spelling by the part of the Chinese entrepreneurs.

    Fortune Cookies on Your Hotel Bed

    Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

    Went to the Dana Hotel in Chicago this weekend and was amused that instead of chocolates, they placed chocolate-covered fortune cookies during their turn-down service. The cookies were very good.

    The Rubber Bands Are Heading in the Right Direction.

    Sunday, May 24th, 2009

    This is a fortune that was sent to me by a reader: I’m sending you a picture of a fortune I got out of a cookie about five or so years ago. It’s the strangest fortune I’ve ever received and I thought you might like to see it. I’ve kept it pinned on my bulletin […]

    Song Lyrics Exclusively From Fortune Cookie Fortunes

    Monday, May 18th, 2009

    This is an amusing stop animation video on YouTube where all the song lyrics are derived from fortune cookies. The funny thing is I’ve seen some of these fortunes before, like “The first and only love is self-love.” At 7 minutes, it looks like it took a long time to put together!

    This Paper is Not Edible

    Saturday, May 9th, 2009

    My friend Tomoko, who lives in Tokyo, went to an upscale Chinese restaurant called Si Chuan Do Hua and had fortune cookies served to her. It was the first time it had happened to her. The fortune was in Japanese and English. The more amusing thing is that on the back it warned, in small […]

    LAT: Bringing Fortune Cookies into the 21st Century.

    Monday, January 26th, 2009

    A Los Angeles Times columnist, Gregory Rodriguez, writes about Kenny Yee, who bought one of L.A.’s four Chinese fortune cookie factories. (Good luck, the margins are awful.) I wonder which four there are. There is Amay, Peking Noodle, now-defunct Hong Kong Noodle…which else. I’m a bit sad about this part of his piece. I hate […]

    About Time I Got Out of That Cookie

    Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

    This is the most hysterical fortune that someone at my talk at the Richmond Jewish Community Center (which has a water slide!). Those people over Wonton Food are getting quite frisky.

    Baby meets Mexican Fortune Cookies, Dichos!

    Monday, November 24th, 2008

    My college roommate, Amy, was served the Mexican fortune cookies called dichos, that I’ve written about before. She lives in Phoenix and was served them in Bisbee, just 5 miles from where they are made. Yes, it seems that Bisbee is in the middle of nowhere. And their supercute son, Alex, loved them too. Or […]

    Fortune Cookie Pendants, Some for $1,100.

    Friday, October 31st, 2008

    My friend’s mom bought me this fortune cookie pendant as a present, adding to my collection of fortune cookie trinkets. It even has a tiny fortune inside. I’ve been surprised at the use of fortune cookies in jewelry. Out of curiosity, I Googled “fortune cookie pendant” and was surprised to find that you can find […]

    My Worlds Converge: Fortune Cookies meets City Room

    Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

    This piece by Willie Neuman talks about fortune cookies (protesting the M.T.A.) on City Room. Some of the sayings (none by Confucius, as much as we can see) “If you cut transit service, this cookie will give you heartburn.” “Raising transit fares will wreak havoc on your love life.” “In a tough economy, it is […]

    Who was the mysterious fortune cookie king?

    Monday, October 13th, 2008

    Got an email from a reader. Does anyone know who this mogul could have been? In the late 1980s and early 90s I worked for a small arts publisher then located on the north side of Spring Street between Crosby and Lafayette in Soho. On the floor below us there was a small, ancient, one-man […]

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