Fortune cookies are the anticipated treat at the end of a dinner in an Asian restaurant. It’s fun to slip out the slim strip of paper and read what the future holds.
Traditionally, the fortunes were based on sayings by Chinese philosopher Confucius, These days, the fortunes are crafted by writers who have a flair for brevity with a twist. The fortunes range in tone from profound to bits of common sense and even riddles. For example:
— A feather in the hand is better than a bird in the air.
— A friend is a present you give yourself.
— A golden egg of opportunity falls into your lap this afternoon.
National Fortune Day is celebrated on July 20 to recognize these crisp, folded cookies with a hint of sweetness.
Sources say the distinctively folded cookie originated in Japan, where elaborate desserts and folding techniques are enjoyed. The cookie migrated to the United States in the late 1800s. It became increasingly popular during World War II.
What better way to celebrate the cookie’s big day than to bake a batch at home? A recipe with photos and an instructional video can be found at the food blog, http://www.fifteenspatulas.com. The ingredients are staples in most well-stocked kitchens — eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extract, water and flour.
Before embarking on this baking venture, it’s best to have the fortunes printed on slender paper strips. Need some ideas to get started? Visit fortunecookiemessage.com where the messages range from cryptic to optimistic
—Your shoes will make you happy today
— The greatest risk is not taking one.
— Wealth awaits you.
An alternative to baked cookies are paper fortune cookies that incorporate origami, the ancient Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. The specifics can be found at unsophisticook.com.
Children are fascinated with fortune cookies as well. The book, “Fortune Cookie Fortunes,” written by Grace Lin, is an engaging story about two sisters who want to know if their cookie fortune will come true. It’s suitable for kids from five to eight years old.
Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who also writes stories for children.