On the Origins of the Fortune Cookie

The New York Times ran an interesting article on the origins of the fortune cookie recently, “Solving a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside a Cookie“. It details research that suggests the fortune cookie is a Japanese, not a Chinese, invention. The popularity of the fortune cookie as an after-dinner treat is relatively recent, dating back to around the beginning of the 20th century. But Yasuko Nakamachi, wo spent six years tracing the history of the snack, has found evidence that it originated in Japan in the late 19th century. Previous theories suggested a proto-fortune cookie was the “moon cake,” baked in China in the 14th century. Whatever the true origins, the fortunes inside the cookies are certainly changing with the times. Nakamachi recently found this one in Japan:

To ward off lower back pain or joint problems, undertake some at-home measures like yoga.

Surely a case of new age wisdom packaged in very old dough… The Times piece also contains some 500 reader comments answering the question, What is the most memorable fortune you’ve found in a fortune cookie?, including this one:

Your face is like a welcome mat.

and the ever-popular:

That was not really chicken…