Weekly Horoscope: June 23, 2008
July 2008 Horoscope

Japanese Fortune Cookies?

Fortune_cookie Yasuko Nakmachi has discovered that the ubiquitous "Chinese" fortune cookie is, in fact, a Japanese invention. She made this discovery after happening upon a small, family-run bakery called Sohonke Hogyokudo, outside Kyoto, "near one of the most popular Shinto shrines in Japan. " There she watched young man make fortune cookies using a black "kata grill," held over an open flame. The grill "contained round molds into which batter is poured, something like a small waffle iron. Little pieces of paper were folded into the cookies while they were still warm."

These cookies are a "bigger and browner" than the ones you get in Chinese restaurants and they are also flavored with "sesame and miso rather than vanilla and butter. And the fortunes are not stuffed inside, but are pinched into the fold." The bakery also recycles the same 23 fortunes, unlike, say, the cookies mass-produced by Wonton Foods that might yield any of some 10,000 fortunes from their vast database. Thing is, Sohonke Hogyokudo has been making these cookies in Japan for three generations.

Exactly how this Japanese tradition became staple of American Chinese restaurants isn't clear, although some speculate that it may be because early Chinese restaurants were run by Japanese immigrants.
Related Post: Bad Fortune Cookies
If this whets your appetite: buy La Choy Fortune cookies.
And, read "The First Book of Tasteless Fortune Cookie Fortunes" for inspiration in creating your own fortunes: buy this book.


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