The Surprising History of the Fortune Cookie
January 9, 2019 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Soleil Ho previously (this isn't comprehensive I don't think!)

Soleil was recently hired as the new restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.
posted by dismas at 11:35 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

I remember going to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory as a child with a school group- but it wasn't until I was taking a class on California History in University that I knew anything about the true history of the cookie. Good post!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:38 AM on January 9

I have just remembered that the worst thing about the 1990s was the brief period of madness when white chocolate dipped fortune cookies were everywhere
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:40 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

For those not well versed in the SF food-media scene, to say that Soleil's hiring is night and day from the horrible old white man who weilded the role before her for so long (32 years) . . . is just the most tremendous understatement.

I personally dont care for the taste of fortune cookies but am most incensed when, instead of a fortune, they contain a statement of "fact" or other non-fortune.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:10 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]

A tip from a cook I know: you can gently steam a fortune cookie to open it slightly, take the slip of paper out, and put your own in. Her favorite was "You are going to get a very long long long long fortune."
posted by Mogur at 12:13 PM on January 9

Sorry, last one: last year, I found a (still in its plastic wrapper) fortune cookie on the sidewalk. I picked it up and opened it to read the fortune, which said..

"Someone is watching you."
posted by Mogur at 12:14 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]

The cookie fortunes haven't been so auspicious lately...

The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is another detail of this the story.
posted by Rash at 12:23 PM on January 9

One New year's Eve in the last century, I ate with friends at a famous TV chef's Chinese restaurant. The meal was memorably bad. I figured the cookie fortune would be significant, because of the date, and opened the cookie with some anticipation. It was empty.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:54 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]

I keep the one where it basically told me to go see a hooker


A tub or a rub on its own is fine ... but together can only mean one thing. :-) That or a Russian Bath where a big hairy guy will beat me with sticks.

The other thing is; I saw a box of MISFORTUNE COOKIES as a gag item for a dinner party at a store once. It had things like "YOUR CAR IS BEING TOWED NOW" and other such delightful Cards Against Humanity vibe to it.

Thanks for posting this. I have something to read on my commute home tonight!

I have always loved these and am disappointed when I don't get offered one when I go to Chinese restaurants.
posted by indianbadger1 at 3:16 PM on January 9

A tip from a cook I know: you can gently steam a fortune cookie to open it slightly, take the slip of paper out, and put your own in. Her favorite was "You are going to get a very long long long long fortune."

You don't have to settle for just one custom fortune cookie. You can have a whole batch made at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco if you bring your own fortunes on slips of paper. My husband and I have been planning to do this for a family gathering using family catchphrases.
posted by larrybob at 3:37 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]

Yes fortune cookies that are nothing but proverbs or life advice make me angry. Tell a damn fortune, you stupid cookie. Make me wonder for a few seconds if I might, in fact, get some unexpected money soon.
posted by emjaybee at 6:18 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]

I got this at Urban Outfitters in SF. Should be ashamed but I'm not. Now I got somewhere to stash all my fortunes.

I kinda wanna go to that fortune cookie factory now.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:32 PM on January 9

I got one once that said "He who gambles loses not only the money he has but also the money he does not have." Of course, on the flip side was the lucky lottery numbers.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:15 PM on January 9

The whole of "Fortune Cookie Chronicles" is a fun read, by the way.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 7:29 PM on January 9

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