Thursday, January 28, 2010

This Could Go One of Two Ways...

Today I picked up lunch from Bamboo, the Vietnamese restaurant around the corner from my home. After eating, I opened my fortune cookie to find an actual fortune- and one with great potential.

"You will make a name for yourself."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 25, 2010

What's This? Two Fortunes?!?

Audriella and I met at PF Chang's for a quick dinner tonight and ended up with two - count 'em - two actual fortunes!

Hers: "Good news of long-awaited event will arrive soon."
Mine: "Advancement will come with hard work."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chinese New Year Dinner, Fortunes and All

Last night my Audriella and I attended a Chinese New Year Dinner class at our favorite cooking school in Austin (I realize that the cover above says 2009, but it actually took place this year - 2010). The class was taught by Houston chef Dorothy Huang. Born in China and raised in Taiwan, Huang has a Master's degree in Education with a minor in Foods & Nutrition from the University of Houston. She has taught Chinese cooking in Houston, Texas, for over twenty years. Huang is the author of two cookbooks, Chinese Cuisine Made Simple and Dorothy Huang's Chinese Cooking.

The class was hands-on, which means that the students participated in preparing the meal. Huang wrote the name of each recipe on a piece of paper, folded up the pieces, placed them in a basket, and passed the basket around, thereby allowing each pair of students to select their own recipe (much like selecting one's own fortune cookie). We selected Chicken in Lettuce Wraps. The other recipes prepared were Pomegranate Chicken, Good Fortune Fish, and Double Happiness Shrimp.

Huang taught us much about the Chinese New Year. For instance, we learned that the color red signifies good luck in Chinese culture. We also learned that the Chinese always serve fish on New Year's because it symbolizes abundance. The fish is usually steamed and served whole. This year the Chinese New Year falls on February 14th.

Huang also showed us the Chinese New Year calendar for 2010. 2010 is the year of the tiger. Audriella and I looked up our own birth years and corresponding fortunes. Having been born in 1979, I am the year of the ram. Here is my fortune according to the 2010 Chinese New Year calendar:

"Anticipate this year your trend will be rising, hard to have obstacles. Be careful of flunky, if you are not preventing even though you have good luck, you will be in dangerous as the sheep in the tiger's mouth. In the year of tiger, you should keep your courage and cautions, do not have relations with those dubious guys. Avoid gambling and lechery. You'd better wear a piece of metal with tiger shape."

[Blogger's note: The Chinese New Year calendar could benefit from the use of an editor. Also, I think Audriella added that last line about wearing a piece of metal shaped like a tiger.]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fortune Cookie Superstitions

My January 4th post, How to Choose a Fortune (Cookie), caused some activity in the comments section regarding how you, my loyal readers, go about selecting your own fortune cookies. For instance, while Charla employs the same method described in my original post (linked above), she does so with the thinking that "you can't choose someone's fortune for them." However, upon reflection she adds, "whatever [cookie] is left over was kind of chosen for you. Hmm..." Bad Kermit is under the impression that you're "supposed to take the cookie that 'points' at you," whereas Jennifer says, "I've always heard that you're not supposed to touch everyone's cookies - you're only supposed to pick up/touch the one you choose for yourself."

Many of your superstitions revolve around eating your fortune cookies. Victoria has to eat part of the cookie, or else she thinks that "what it says will not come true." Her second superstition is very intriguing: "And I think it is fiercely bad luck when you have an empty fortune [cookie] so immediately knock on wood or throw salt over my shoulder to offset the empty fortune [cookie] and then choose another. I am not a fan either of cracked cookies." She adds, "it sucks to be so superstitious." Ha! (I'm right there with you, V. Growing up with a superstitious father has led me to be hyper-aware of black cats and ladders.) Single Blonde in the City and Charla both have to eat half of the cookie, but mostly for the sweetness, not because of any belief that cookie ingestion will lead to true fortunes. 

Finally, the first friend I made in grad school (and maybe Austin?), who is best described as AwesomeFromAmherst, always eats the cookie before reading the insert. She believes that doing otherwise will negate the (potential) fortune. Her husband doesn't like fortune cookies, though, so to remedy this they have an agreement that she will eat both of their cookies before either of them are allowed to read the inserts. She gets mad at him if he looks at the insert(s) before she has eaten the cookies.

What are some other fortune cookie superstitions, either for selecting the cookies or for reading the inserts?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Piece on Earth - NOT a Holiday Fortune

I have received several cookie inserts - fortunes and not - since my last post. Just last night my good friend ScurvyGirl gave me a not-a-fortune from one of her recent dining experiences. Saying, "I saved this for you," she passed me the insert that read, "One learns most from teaching others." This could not be more true. I've decided not to place this cookie insert in the silver fortune cookie that holds the majority of my cookie inserts, but rather to display it on my desk so as to remind myself of the value that teaching holds (even in those moments when I want to scream into a pillow).

My latest not-a-fortunes read:
"If you want it...take it."
"Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness."

My friends received some interesting inserts:
"One of the greatest discoveries is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind."
"Sharing little joys offers great hope to others."
"Many possibilities are open to you - work a little harder." [blogger's note: my friend who received this may or may not be (read: is) a workaholic]

Also, my best friend noted that in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a fortune cookie insert reads, "You are about to get crushed by a giant sesame bagel," which is, in fact, a fortune.

And finally, for what I think is the best story to emerge this past week: After a meal with my parents at our favorite Chinese restaurant in San Antonio, Hung Fong, my father opened his fortune cookie and read, "Man who lay woman on ground will have piece on earth."* Ba-dum-bum.

*Note: This is not what the cookie insert read. This was my jokester father's addition to the after-meal routine.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Choose a Fortune (Cookie)

In my introductory post on not-a-fortune, I noted that my best friend and her family have crafted a special way of doling out fortune cookies. Taking a cue from her father, she takes all of the cookies for those who have participated in the meal, places them in her hands, mixes them up, and then allows each person to select his or her own fortune cookie. On our most recent visit to Austin's Chinatown (where the dragon pictured above greets bar patrons), I attempted to photograph this tradition.

(holding the cookies)


(mixing the cookies)

(Mr. Jones selecting his fortune cookie)

         (me selecting my fortune cookie)

Are there any traditions or rituals that you maintain when you receive fortune cookies?