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In the News!

#44 Fortune Cookies

Posted March 23rd, 2008 by Peter

Peter says:

“Fortune Cookie: A Chinese-American cookie into which has been folded a printed message predicting one’s fortune.” If you’ve ever wondered why an asian person gives you that hug or profound food for though, look no further. They’ve probably been eating at Lucky’s Chinese.

When people go to “fast food” type restaurants such as Panda Express or Pickup Stix, they are greeted by a familiar site: the Fortune Cookie. When full-blooded asians go to these restaurants, they, besides scoffing at the silly adornments, are appalled by the abomination. Why? It’s simply not asian. After extensive research, both Chinese and American food historians agree that the “fortune cookie” is in fact an American invention. That, however, doesn’t stop americanized asians from enjoying the fortune that could lie in their immediate futures because of a very obscure but accurate connection. Combining a random horoscopic message with a funny fact or proverb, this pleasant low-calorie dessert has cracked its way into the hearts of people everywhere. There are three main categories of messages that asians can receive from their fortune cookies:

1. Enlightening: These messages may tell asians winning lottery numbers or how to say “watermelon” in Chinese. They may also present obscure truths about obscure people from obscure lands that have obscure names. These fortune cookies, however, continue to expand an asian’s vocabulary and their knowledge of “King Fifth the Twelth twice removed from the throne of Canterbury.” Examples of enlightening fortune cookie messages may be: obvious, like “A warm smile is testimony of a generous nature. or thought-provoking: If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” When asians receive these messages, they may re-think their current situations in life and be (next category) in the lives of people they know.

2. Inspiring: Have you ever wondered why asians are the best people to consult after a hard day at work? Asians aren’t born innately knowing Hammurabi’s Code, nor do they always know the right things to say. That’s where fortune cookies come into play. Asians love helping others by nature, no matter how gruesome their actions on the freeway. Asians are themselves inspired by some of the messages they receive in fortune cookies. That is why they, in turn, will pay them forward to their friends, family, and co-workers. Examples of inspiring messages include: The smart thing is to prepare for the unexpected.” and “A scholars ink lasts longer than a martyrs blood.” Asians, for this reason, will tell you that “The smart thing is to prepare for the unexpected.


3. Or just plain frightening: These messages will turn even jesterly Jackie Chan into the ill-fated Bruce Lee (comedy to tragedy). They can also, on the other hand, be the most comical ones out there (if you don’t take them too seriously). Asians always live on cloud nine, so it takes one of these reminders to bring them one cloud closer to earth. Of the more comical messages is, “Those weren’t chicken or chocolate ice cream you just ate.” Sometimes, the cookies may even hold a deeper and eerie meaning, as one of our members reports receiving, “You think it’s a secret, but it has never been one..” and the more frightening, What you perceive as an innocent infatuation, the law will perceive as punishable up to 15 years in federal prison,” in succession. These messages are very hard to come by, and are usually found in more “americanized” restaurants that believe that using broken english and a wise asian accent are unimportant (even though they are).

Besides from their obvious qualities, fortune cookies may be equivalent of fortune tellers to asians, as they both are predictors of ensuing fortune and success. On a more obscure note, fortune cookies are also like asian immigrants.

“At the beginning of this century, San Francisco’s Chinatown was a ghetto, rife with the problems that plague any poor neighborhood. But by the 1930s, the neighborhood’s exotic image was being used to attract tourists. During that marketing effort, a restaurant created the fortune cookie for visitors who expected a dessert course that Chinese cuisine largely lacks.” - Fortune Cookies: No Ancient Chinese Secret

The fortune cookie’s image was developed slowly by viral marketing, much like many asians had to climb their respective social ladders to achieve what they have today. They endured the rockin’ twenties and the Great Depression. They single-handedly transformed China Town, San Francisco into what it is today. Asians love knowledge, motivation, and humor. They also love people and things that will ensure them brighter futures. The Fortune Cookie is all those things and more.

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