Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To Eat a Fortune...

My BFF's boyfriend came to visit. His theory ("proven fact") is that you must eat the fortune in order for it to come true. Here is photographic evidence of Mr. Jones swallowing his own actual fortune ("Tomorrow will be a five star day").

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Gift from Mom

My mother surprised me with this gift, which she found via a Google search for "fortune cookie paraphernalia." I collect aprons, so when she saw this listed on, she knew her search had ended. Apparently, the apron is available with or without a cookie insert as part of the graphic but my mother, in her infinite wisdom, didn't like any of the options and wasn't sure that I would and so she opted for the cookie by itself. I think this was a wise decision. What a creative and appropriate gift. Thanks, Mom!

- Posted using my iPhone

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Return of the Cookie Insert

You may have noticed my sporadic absence over the past couple of weeks. I spent the second week of December in California and am now recovering from strep throat. Fear not; though I have been away from home and under the weather recently, that hasn't stopped me from collecting cookie inserts (mine and others'). In fact, just this evening my best friend/nurse/soup fairy, Audriella, brought me wonton soup that came with two fortune cookies. Mine included a not-a-fortune that read, "Learning is a treasure which accompanies us everywhere." However, Audriella received an actual fortune: "You will soon emerge victorious from the maze you've been traveling in." (Don't even get me started on the grammar. That would be another blog entirely.)

Last week, a friend's daughter and I had dinner at Fire Bowl, where we both received not-a-fortunes. Hers: "Put all your unhappiness aside. Life is beautiful. Be happy." Mine: "Make all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can."

Three of my friends have shared fortunes with me since my last post about cookie inserts. Their fortunes:
"Everywhere you choose to go, friendly faces will greet you."
"You will soon be surrounded by good friends and laughter."
"The problems of today will soon be buried by the sand of time."

Any thoughts on these fortunes and not-a-fortunes?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is...

Okay, maybe not "all," but it sure does seem like an appropriate gift!

What Do You Do When You Receive A Fortune Cookie? POLL RESULTS

The results of the last poll have been tabulated. The poll read as follows:

I eat the cookie.
I read the insert.
I eat the cookie AND read the insert.
I sometimes eat the cookie BUT ALWAYS READ THE INSERT.

The results are as follows:
27% of respondents eat the cookie AND read the insert
67% of respondents sometimes eat the cookie BUT ALWAYS READ THE INSERT
6% of respondents replied other

Thank you for voting.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


A childhood friend of mine just created this gem for me:

The assumption of this not-a-fortune (which I love, by the way) is that the person who receives it will have already consumed the cookie by the time s/he (ME?!?) reads the insert. This leads me to wonder how many of you actually eat fortune cookies? Please respond by voting in the new poll located in the sidebar to the right. (Comments are always welcome as well.)

*Please note that the title of this post does not refer to this virtual gift as having been the inspiration for my blog, but rather my blog seems to have inspired the creation of the above graphic. It is one of the unexpected pleasures of this endeavor that my readers share their fortunes, not-a-fortunes, and other musings with me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fortune or Not-a-Fortune? Some Examples

Since I started writing this blog not too long ago, friends and family have taken it upon themselves to email and text me with the contents of their own cookie inserts, both fortunes and not. Here are some of their contributions:

"Endurance and persistance will be rewarded."
"Your dearest wish will come true."

"A smile is your personal welcome mat."
"Delay is the antidote for anger."
"Excitement and intrigue follow you closely wherever you go!"

Thank you for sharing your fortunes and not-a-fortunes with me; please continue to do so (but know you may see them here).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Are Fortune Cookies Made?

On a recent trip to San Francisco, California, my mother and I visited the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in order to learn how fortune cookies are made. For the "suggested donation" of $1, we were able to step inside the tiny space located along Ross Alley in San Francisco's Chinatown. We quickly snapped a few photos and enjoyed a piece of warm fortune cookie (sans insert - fortune or not) before being ushered out so that the next group of tourists could witness what we who only consume Chinese food rarely get to see: how fortune cookies are made.

Exterior of Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

The first thing we saw upon entering the factory - the blue flame of the cookie press

Cookies coming off of the hot press

The final step: a woman places an insert (fortune or not?) on top of the disc-shaped cookie and then folds it into the familiar shape we have come to know as the fortune cookie.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Constitutes a Fortune?

"Laughter shall fuel your spirit's engine."

I received this cookie insert prior to the Thanksgiving break. Note the use of "shall" - "Laughter shall fuel your spirit's engine." Does the inclusion of this one forward-seeming word make this cookie insert an actual fortune? My friend Nick counts any type of forward-looking statement that is a type of prediction as a fortune. This rule allows him to categorize a recent cookie insert as an actual fortune: "The best times of your life have not yet been lived." Under the same rule, however, the following cookie insert is not a fortune: "People are naturally attracted to you." (This is not to say that either of these is untrue; the distinction is between fortunes and not-a-fortunes.)

I tend to require the use of "will" (or "shall") - as in "you will _____" - in order to categorize a cookie insert as an actual fortune. Otherwise what I'm reading is most likely a proverb of some sort. What makes a cookie insert an actual fortune for you?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Forget to Vote...

Be sure to vote in the poll (located on the sidebar to your right) before a new one replaces it. Keep your eyes (and browsers) peeled for a new post coming soon!

UPDATE: Results of the first poll are in! 85% of respondents always read their cookie inserts (total of 14 votes). Thank you for participating in the first poll.

Friday, November 20, 2009

For the Man Who Makes Me Feel "Fortunate" Everyday

"If you put up with small annoyances, you will gain great results."

I have thoughtful, caring, loving, supportive parents. They are unfailingly kind - to my friends and loved ones (and snuggly puppies!) as well as to me. This post is dedicated to my father, who celebrated a birthday yesterday. He and my mother went out for Chinese food in honor of the occasion. My mother's cookie insert was decidedly not a fortune: "Do not let great ambitions overshadow small success." However, my father's cookie insert (reprinted above) did, in fact, include an actual fortune. Happy birthday to him! And yet, upon closer inspection, we see that his fortune was preceded by a caveat: "If you put up with small annoyances..." Eh, I suppose in this cookie insert market that's the best one can hope for, even on a birthday.

Happy birthday, Daddy, I love you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where Do I Store the Cookie Inserts?

You may wonder where I keep all of my fortunes and not-a-fortunes. Until recently, the many cookie inserts had found a home on my refrigerator, precariously secured by various magnets. I say "until recently" because one of my best friends and college suite-mates gave me the most thoughtful birthday gift: a lovely silver fortune cookie (pictured above) in which to keep my growing collection of (not-a-) fortunes. Thanks, Myrtle!*

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welome to Not-A-Fortune

Those who have eaten Chinese food with me (and those who have not, thanks to the virtues of social networking sites) know that I love fortune cookies. I don't always love the cookies themselves, however. What I do love are the little inserts inside the cookies - the fortunes. Growing up, my parents and I frequented a handful of Chinese restaurants. At the end of the meal, along with the bill, the server would deliver three fortune cookies. We would each take one, crack open the cookie, remove the insert, and take turns reading our fortunes aloud. This tradition has continued into my adulthood, both with my parents and now with my friends. One of my best friends has altered the tradition, incorporating her family's fortune cookie routine into mine: she takes all of the cookies from the table, gently mixes them in her hands, and then has everyone select his or her own cookie, thereby allowing each person to choose his or her fortune. I love the combination of randomness and deliberateness that this involves.

What I have come to notice over the past year or so is that very few cookies contain actual fortunes. Most offer what I like to call "not-a-fortunes." I save each and every cookie insert I receive, fortune or not, and I have taken to posting these statements on other online forums. A friend of mine recently suggested I start a blog, noting that I can't be the only person frustrated by the lack of true fortunes out there. And so here we are. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts, fortune cookie-related or not.