Today in My History
Singing and Laughing in the Rain
Cast (updated 7/16)
October 21, 2020
The Great British Baking Company episode I watched last night had the bakers making fortune cookies ... and it brought up some interesting memories.
Most people don't realize that fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco, based on a cookie made in Japan in the 19th century.
Rumors that fortune cookies were invented in China are seen as false. In 1989, fortune cookies were reportedly imported into Hong Kong and sold as "genuine American fortune cookies". Wonton Food attempted to expand its fortune cookie business into China in 1992, but gave up after fortune cookies were considered "too American".
It was surprising how many of the Great British Baking Company cooks couldn't figure out how to fold the cookie with a fortune inside.
Most of them ended up looking like this.
(Interestingly, the winner of the fortune cookie bake was the only Chinese contestant!)
Now cookies are made by machine and several million are made each day, but the original fortune cookie bakery in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie factory, still has cookies made by hand so tourists can take pictures.
Notice how the woman has a glove on, to handle the hot cookies are they come across the conveyer belt. She inserts the fortune and then folds the cookies and puts it in a hole where it will stay in shape while it cools.
In the days when Char and I tried all sorts of interesting baked things, I learned how to make fortune cookies, and it was fun making up fortunes and putting them in cookies.
One of the kids was in kindergarten at that time and I volunteered to do a weekly cooking segment for the class. At Chinese new year, the teacher decided I should make fortune cookies. We had a small oven that I used and I had fortunes to insert into the cookies. I baked two cookies at a time because that's all that would fit in the oven and the kids found it interesting to watch me take a cookie and put a fortune in it, fold it and set it aside for them to eat later. They watched me make the first two cookies and then went and did something else while I sat by myself for the next hour and made cookies for the class.
I had no glove and by the time I had folded 30 fortune cookies, my fingers were burned numb from the heat of the cookies!
I have not made fortune cookies since.
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Jeri and Phil voted at Fenway Park
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This is entry #7516