The Fortune Cookie Chronicles


  • #26 on the New York Times Best Seller List
    and featured on Colbert Report, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR stations coast to coast.

  • Recent Posts

  • Fortune Cookies

    Now Available: Fortune Cookie Cupcakes

    Monday, September 8th, 2008

    Fortune Cookie cupcakes from A Baked Creation. . As they explain: “We made fortune cookies out of gum paste and inserted her unique personal notes. The green icing relates to the company’s famous colour.”

    General Tso-themed baby wear

    Monday, September 8th, 2008

    General Tso Onesie

    Available from Etsy, a “General Tso onesie” — which is funny because no sign of General Tso anywhere, just fortune cookies. Which shows both have become interchangeable symbols for Chinese food. The desription:
    Grab this adorable “General Tso” baby onesie for your little one. American Apparel 100% Organic Cotton. Machine washable. Triple seat [...]

    Who knew there were Greek fortune cookies? A British lottery winner strikes it big.

    Monday, August 25th, 2008

    (From a while back. I am just catching up. An engineer in Britain played a lucky number from a fortune cookie he got in Greece four years ago and won £2,355,880 (about $5 million!). A smaller version of what happened in the United States and in Brazil.
    More surprising to me: That fortune cookies have made [...]

    ABC: The mystery of the fortune cookie’s history

    Sunday, August 17th, 2008

    Television loves fortune cookies as a result of the Beijing Olympics. I did a segment with ABC on the history of the fortune cookie with Juju Chang.
    I swear, fortune cookies and “man date” are going to be part of my obituary, or at the very least the college reunion report.
    ABC, fortune cookies, juju chang, Media [...]

    Joe Grimm, recruiter extraordinaire, departure party at Unity

    Saturday, August 9th, 2008

    At Unity, about 100 people came to the departure of Joe Grimm, who I must say is the best newspaper recruiter that I have ever met, from his job at the Detroit Free Press. He’s touched the career of hundreds upon hundreds of young journalists (including me) — encouraging
    I first met him at AAJA in [...]

    A Fortune Cookie Chronicles book club at the Fortune Cookie Chronicles Powerball Restaurant

    Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

    This is very adorable. I got a great email leading me to the photo above. “I’m the organizer for my neighborhood’s book club. We read your book last month and then ate at King Buffet, which is one of the fortune cookie winning restaurants here in Lawrence, Kansas.” The photo is of them holding [...]

    My cameo in The Killing of the Chinese Cookie

    Monday, July 14th, 2008

    I saw Derek Shimoda’s The Killing of the Chinese Cookie this week, and I make a brief cameo (as do some of my fortune cookies from around the world). It is when I am in Japan (Kyoto/Osaka area)  getting my fortune cold at a shrine connected with fortune cookies through the tsujiura technique of watching [...]

    LAT’s Steve Harvey on the Fortune Cookie mystery

    Sunday, June 8th, 2008

    Google alerts let me know today that Steve Harvey, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, does a whole column titled “Claims to original fortune cookies crumble under weight of research” around one of the central mysteries of my book.
    It’s one of the first times that there is an entire print piece that is neither [...]

    Mexican fortune cookies, called dichos

    Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

    The Los Angeles Times food section did a recent piece on taco-shaped fortune cookies.
    As Tom Miller writes,
    Dichos, as the cookies are called, have been appearing at restaurants — Mexican and others — in southern Arizona in a haphazard pattern in which word-of-mouth has far outpaced formal distribution. Raul and Marina Montaño, the Douglas, Ariz., couple [...]

    Fortune Cookies: “except in bed?”

    Monday, May 19th, 2008

    This truly excellent comic from xkcd.com on the “in bed” phenomenon in fortune cookies.

    fortune cookies, in bed, quirky, xkcd

    Fortune cookie fungus

    Sunday, May 11th, 2008

    Was browsing the Internet doing a search for fortune cookie by Super K (Kari-out) and stumbled upon this blog post on Thoughts from Miller Manor about fungus that looks like fortune cookies.

     Yummy?
    fortune cookies, fungus, quirky

    Tibetan fortune cookies? (well…divination dough balls)

    Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

    Nate Barksdale remembered of his Let’s Go India researchers wrote in his report on Dharamsala back in 1998 — to wit, that one of the Dalai Lama’s lesser-known tools of statecraft involves choosing between balls of dough that had little notes hidden inside. (fortune cookie-ish yes?)
    There’s even an explanation from the Tibetan government-in-exile:
    Varieties of Divination:
    i) [...]

    Mao, made out of hundreds of fortune cookies

    Monday, April 21st, 2008

    Benjamin Wallace (author of the forthcoming book The Billionaire’s Vinegar) passed me this amazing artwork by Robert Deckey (his artist brother-in-law who apparently doesn’t have a Web site that I can dig out) — a portrait of Mao Zedong made out of hundreds of fortune cookies.
    Here is some promotional information from his 2007 collection. (Don’t [...]

    Fortune cookie presents, some of them actually made in China

    Saturday, April 19th, 2008

    Many people have sent me fortune-cookie themed presents and cards to congratulate me on the book. Here are some of them pictured here. (I especially like the jewelish-encrusted one). Some of them were even engraved. All came with a special fortune inside

    What amused me. Fortune cookies made not be made in China. But fortune cookie
    mementos [...]

    Unfortunate Cookies (the rejects)

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

    Tsue Chong company (which makes rose-brand fortune cookies) in Seattle sells bags of rejected fortune cookies for like $7.25 a pop. These are the fortune cookies that go by too quickly to be folded (think Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory)  I was brought there by the MSG150 crew after lunch.

    I thought the [...]

    Fortune cookies are not a “food’ (according to our federal government

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    Fortune cookies are not necessarily food, at least, according to the federal government
    The Nixon Library made these adorable custom-made fortune cookies to promote my talk on Saturday (above). But the library is part of the National Archives which is part of the federal government which is not allowed to give out “food” as presents (all [...]

    14k Fortune Cookie Jewelry (why?)

    Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

    Sent to me by a coworker. A Rachel Leigh fortune cookie necklace, which is made of 14k gold, so this is not the cheap costume stuff. (Who is Rachel Leigh, I don’t know, but it’s these kinds of Web sites that make me feel like I should).
    Just goes to prove how iconic fortune cookies are [...]

    Derek Shimoda’s The Killing of a Chinese Cookie

    Thursday, March 20th, 2008

    Derek Shimoda’s documentary, The Killing of the Chinese Cookie, is playing in the International Asian American Film Festival. I convinced Derek to come with me to Japan to document the Japaneseness of the cookies when I heard he was working on a documentary. I have a funny story about when we first talked on the [...]

    The Library of Congress Flyer

    Monday, March 17th, 2008

    I know, if I had my act together, I would have posted this before the event at the Library of Congress. But notice the iconic use of fortune cookies (which are more recognized in America than anywhere else)

    Appearances, flyer, fortune cookies, Library of Congress, photo

    Confucius say, you will be arrested today for something stupid

    Monday, March 10th, 2008

    Police were able to arrest two robbery suspects in Tulsa, Oklahoma because they found matching fortune cookies from the robbed Chinese restaurant and in the crooks’ pockets, according to this Associated Press story.
    The crooks loved fortune cookies so much, that not only did they take money they grabbed fortune cookies on their way out the [...]

    Wisconsin Public Radio on the origin of the fortune cookie

    Saturday, March 8th, 2008

    Here is the mp3 of an interview I did on the origin of the fortune cookie on Wisconsin Public Radio a week ago, along with Eric Hagiwara, for their Friday food program. (I know. Delay. Book craziness. Why else am I catching up on blogging on a Saturday morning at 6 a.m.?!).
    They liked me well [...]

    Introducing fortune cookies to China

    Thursday, March 6th, 2008

    During my trip to China, I took along boxes of Wonton Food’s fortune cookies and gave them out to Chinese people along the way. This is a compilation of their reactions. (The people here are from Houyu, Kaifeng, Shenzhen and Changsha).

    fortune cookies, quirky, Video

    More Fortune Cookie Memoir: from Bill Stephens

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

    I’ve become quite the magnet for fortune cookie tales both real and fictional. Bet you didn’t know there was a whole genre of fortune cookie writing, but there is.
    Bill Stephens sent me an excerpt, chapter 25, for book proposal, ‘Uncorking & Forking: It’s Been a Good Life.’ www.billstephensbooks.com.”
    Uncorking & Forking: It’s Been a [...]

    A meta-fortune cookie fortune

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

    Barbara Brown sent this photo to me and a message: “Heard your intrview on NPR yesterday and wanted to share my favorite fortune ever. After a birthday dinner one year I opened my fortune cookie and read, ‘Ignore previous fortunes.’ I’ve never met anyone else who has gotten that fortune, nor do I want [...]

    Video: Watch fortune cookies being handmade in Japan

    Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

    Here, on the New York Times site, is the  video of fortune cookies being made in Japan that went with my article. I’m not sure why they only put some videos on YouTube (about 150 at last count). Sadly, they don’t give you the ability to embed it either in the blog.
    fortune cookies, Video