Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The In-LAws Have A Question...

...Where Are The Fortune Cookies?

I bet many American presume that Fortune Cookies were invented by the Chinese and that they were steeped in some ancient tradition…. Well not really. The Chinese Fortune Cookie is not even Chinese. The cookie's origin has long been a source of contention. It was most likely invented in San Francisco -- by a Japanese American. In 1914, Makoto Hagiwara introduced cookies bearing thank-you notes at his Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and served them at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition, San Francisco's world's fair. David Jung, founder of Los Angeles' Hong Kong Noodle Co., also claimed to have invented the cookies in 1918 as an encouraging treat for the post-World War I unemployed who gathered in the street. Chinese restaurant owners in both cities quickly saw an opportunity to attract white American customers who routinely expected desert after a meal, a concept alien to the Chinese.
The Wonton Food Company produces almost 2.5 million of the bow-shaped, crispy sugar cookies a day and is the world's largest producer, supplier and exporter.[…] Fortune cookies were virtually unknown in Asia until 1993 when the Wonton Food Co. opened a factory in China. The project, however, was short-lived. "It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it just didn't pan out," said Leung. "Fortune cookies are too American a concept." (by Kerry Burke)