Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How the fortune cookie came to be... in bed!

Photo: National Diet Library of Japan

When most people think of fortune cookies, they think of Chinese fortune cookies, right?

Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, to be published in March by Twelve, writes in a NY Times story about the fortunes of the cookie served at the end of every meal in a Chinese restaurant nearly everywhere in the world except, of course, in China.

In fact, according to Lee, the largest fortune cookie manufacturer in the world is based in Brooklyn, NY. And now comes the rigorously researched work of Yasuko Nakamachi, a folklore and history graduate student at Kanagawa University, who traces the mysterious origins of the fortunate cookie to a centuries-old Japanese practice. Among other pieces of historical evidence, Nakamichi found "an 1878 image of a man making them in a bakery - decades before the first reports of American fortune cookies," Lee writes.

Good fortune arrives smiling to she who reads this blog... in bed!

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