Dietribes: The Fortune Cookie


"¢Â Fortune cookies were introduced by a Japanese (not Chinese!) immigrant named Makoto Hagiwara, who ran a tea room in San Francisco. He would serve sayings and thoughtful phrases with his tea. Since the idea wasn't trademarked, Chinese restaurants later started using the idea as a filler for their small dessert menus, and the phenomenon spread from there.

"¢Â So just how lucky are those Lucky Numbers? Depends how you look at it - on the one hand, 110 people won the Powerball in March 2005 that all had the same numbers ... from a fortune cookie. Investigators traced the fortunes to a Long Island City factory, which is owned by Wonton Food. The same number combinations go out in thousands of cookies a day. On the other hand, that probably did dilute the prize money quite a bit ...

"¢ On occasion, maybe those lucky numbers do work, but what about the fortunes? Danica Patrick got a fortune that said "A four-wheeled adventure will soon bring you pleasure." before her third place victory at the Indy, and runner Kerry O'Brien decided not to race because of a fortune. A cookie also "predicted" the Motor Voter bill.

"¢Â Not all fortunes are good - my friend Melody actually just reported to that she once got a cookie that read, "you should reconsider your fitness regime." Have any of you Flossers ever gotten a downbeat fortune or advice in your cookie?

"¢Â Don't like your fortune? Change it by creating your own! Or just make your own cookie entirely.

"¢Â "Minority Report" is not the only place "futures" solve crime - cookies can help, too.

"¢Â The secret of where the fortunes come from is finally revealed! (In this instance, "sources range from the I Ching to the Post").

"¢Â There are plenty of different kinds of fortune cookies, including ones of various flavors, as well as, er, an X-rated variety (which were accidentally sent to a fundraiser raising money to send poor kids to summer camp).

"¢ So what are some of the best / worst / most apt fortunes you guys have ever gotten? I once received "your intense personality makes quite an impression on people." Ehhh ... I'm going to take that as a compliment.

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.