Those Magical Fortune Cookies

The inspiration behind my Fortune Christmas Baubles: the Fortune Cookie. A small baked cookie with a hidden message, surrounded by luck and wisdom. Where does this tradition come from, who writes those wishes, and how does that wish actually get into the cookie?


fortune cookie

From Japan to America:

Although you might think they come from China, the fortune cookie actually has its origins in Japan.

In the 19th century, a similar cookie called tsujiura senbei was made in Kyoto. Slightly larger, made with miso and sesame, and served with tea with a 'fortune' tucked into the corner of the cracker.

Probably inspired by Omikuji (sacred lot). A Japanese temple tradition of random predictions on paper strips, which you receive after a small offering.

In the U.S., tsujiura senbei were served in a Japanese tea garden at the end of the 19th century.

A Japanese-American confectioner started selling these 'fortune tea cakes' to Chinese restaurants, with great success because the Chinese love luck and symbolism.


How They Became Chinese

Because the Chinese cuisine lacks desserts, these fortune cookies were served as a dessert to Americans, who love sweet things.

After World War II, production shifted to Chinese-American manufacturers, thus the name "fortune cookies" emerged.


Worldwide Popularity via the Silver Screen

The spread of fortune cookies around the world is thanks to American movies, where audiences saw people in Chinese restaurants with the cookies. This spread their popularity globally.


Who Writes the Fortunes?

The special thing about fortune cookies is, of course, the message inside. Although the origin is Japanese and we pretend it's Chinese, it's not an ancient wise Eastern man in traditional dress writing them. It turns out that the American cookie manufacturer writes the texts themselves.

Often about American subjects with no connection to China. Haha, so it's actually an American writing Chinese fortunes for fortune cookies that aren't Chinese at all.


Fortune Cookies in China

The funny thing is, Americans tried to introduce fortune cookies in China, but the Chinese population showed no interest. Even today, a fortune cookie doesn't even have a Chinese name.


How Do They Get the Wish Inside the Fortune Cookie?

A fortune cookie is shaped like an ingot, a Chinese gold nugget. The dough, made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and sesame oil, is flattened and baked for one minute. The cookie is still soft when it comes out of the oven, then it is shaped and the wish is placed inside. After cooling, the dough hardens, ready to reveal the surprise inside.

So, the next time you hand out fortune cookies, you know the rich history behind them. Don't let the image of the wish-writing manufacturer in that stuffy factory office hinder the enchantment of luck and wisdom.


Fortune Christmas Baubles

I LOVE these kinds of things. Lucky cats, making wishes, fortune cookies; that's why after yet another broken Christmas ornament, I came up with Fortune Christmas Baubles, with a prediction for your new year inside. This way, it's not a big deal if one breaks.


Fortune kerstballen, met een voorspelling voor jouw nieuwe jaar erin.


Hou jij ook zo van dit soort dingen? neem mijn Fortune kerstballen mee naar je kerstdiner om uit te delen. Valt er per ongeluk een kapot, dan komt er een wens tevoorschijn. En scherven brengen geluk, dus die wens komt vast uit!.


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