The cookie’s path is relatively easy to trace back to World War II. At that time they were a regional specialty, served in California Chinese restaurants, where they were known as “fortune tea cakes.” There, according to later interviews with fortune cookie makers, they were encountered by military personnel on the way back from the Pacific Theater. When these veterans returned home, they would ask their local Chinese restaurants why they didn’t serve fortune cookies as the San Francisco restaurants did.
The cookies rapidly spread across the country. By the late 1950s, an estimated 250 million fortune cookies were being produced each year by dozens of small Chinese bakeries and fortune cookie companies.
The story goes that the Mongols had no taste for Lotus Nut Paste and so the Chinese hid the message containing the date in the middle of their Moon Cakes replacing the yolk with secret messages. Patriotic revolutionary, Chu Yuan Chang took on the disguise of a Taoist priest and entered occupied walled cities handing out Moon Cakes. These were the instructions to co-ordinate the uprising which successfully formed the basis of the Ming Dynasty.
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