Looking for crafts for my Valentine’s Craft Night coming up, I came across one of Martha Stewart’s creations – a felt fortune cookie made with pink and red felt that could contain any message you like for the special person you’re sharing the fortunes with. Adorable, but maybe a little much for the kids I’ll be working with. Of course, you can always follow the link and try making some of your own.
Why would Martha think fortune cookies are something appropriate for Valentine’s Day? Maybe because they are similar to the little candy hearts that spell out love words, only the fortune cookies could say a lot more to your loved one. But why aren’t fortune cookies associated with Valentine’s Day? Do the Chinese not celebrate the holiday? Turns out, fortune cookies aren’t even something the Chinese brought us at all!
New York Times reporter Jennifer 8 Lee decided she was curious about the after dinner sweet and did some fascinating investigations, resulting in a great book called The Fortune Cookie Chronicles : Adventures in the World of Chinese Food.
She began researching the fortune cookie when it turned out that a HUGE number of 2nd prize winners in a US Powerball lottery chose their numbers from fortune cookie slips. She tracked down the restaurants that served the cookies and this began her entertaining research into the history of not only the fortune cookie, but Chinese take-out food in particular. She has a great website and blog which you can read here on a regular basis called The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.
I also came across a great YouTube video of one of her presentations on the subject. It is almost 17 minutes long, but extremely entertaining and you’ll learn quite a bit as well. I recommend you have a few minutes to watch this all the way through because it will really make you think about our food and what we might be missing.