Fortunes and cookies

IMG_1925Every time I eat at an Asian restaurant in town I end up with a fortune cookie. Everyone cracks it open, the stale vanilla cookie crumbling onto the tablecloth. They pull out the piece of paper inside and read some prosaic proverb. Some folks like to share theirs, others don’t care and some even like to tack an “in bed” on the sayings tail end. Whatever your predilections in the fortune cookie world, this little custom is almost universal in being enjoyed and partaken in.

With its own murky past, the fortune cookie is primarily an American enigma. Claims over who invented the cookie tradition even went as far as a court battle. It doesn’t seem to be a Chinese tradition or Japanese, the most likely kind of restaurant to find these items. So it comes from the melting pot of culture found in America. Everyone still reads them.

That’s it. Someone writes fortune cookies. Each cookie is a published work. Enjoyed, repeated and added to. Fortunes and cookies come together in a unique exploration of the written word and what it means to us. A simple sentence in a stale vanilla cookie can lead to a smile, a laugh and the potential to impart a small token of wisdom. Words can matter especially when found inside a cookie.

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