The Truth behind Fortune Cookie Messages


Nesha Adler-Eldridge, writer

You’ve probably tried one of the famous after-meal treats, fortune cookies. Whether it be at a Japanese or Chinese cuisine or something your parents brought home with a meal. Fortune cookies are crisp and thin, with small messages of fortune written inside them on a piece of paper. Some people take the messages to heart while others simply find them amusing. So who’s behind these spontaneous messages?


To begin with, the origin of fortune cookies is somewhat all over the place. Some stories state that a Chinese immigrant invented the cookie and it’s paper fortune at his restaurant when in Los Angeles, while others state that a Japanese immigrant invented it while in San Francisco. Either way, all of the stories claim that the cookie originated specifically in America’s state of California. This is especially strange for something that is clearly thought of as part of Japanese culture.


Despite their weary descent, fortune cookies are now popular all around the world. The production of fortune cookies is presently that they are written by humans. Writing fortune cookies is an official job. Although writing fortunes seems fun and easy, former writers claim that writing them holds a lot of pressure. The job of a fortune cookie writer means writing the perfect after meal message that leaves the guest satisfied and curious.


The amount of people that write fortune cookie messages depends on what place they are making them for. Places like Panda Express have one writer named Donald Lau who does all of the fortunes. While other restaurants or businesses hire multiple workers for their cookies. For your own entertainment, you could even make your own fortune cookies with simple directions and ingredients.


All in all, the things behind our favored treat might be more complicated than we knew beforehand. So next time you open fortune cookie, it may be a good thing to remember that the fortunes are simply words from another fellow human.