Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fortune Cookies...Barney's windows...

This is such a fun and creative window at Barney's in Las Vegas
to welcome in the Chinese New Year.

It sure would be good fortune to have a zero balance on one's credit bill at Barney's!

History of the Fortune Cookie

The idea of fortune cookies was introduced by Makoto Hagiwara at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, as a refreshment to be taken while strolling the tea garden. The Hagiwara family was not business oriented, and there was never a patent taken out on the fortune cookie in any form (name, rights, cookie itself, or otherwise). This confection is said to be based off of a Japanese food known as tsujiura senbei, which is associated with New Year festivities at Shinto Shrines.

The tsujiura senbei, several generations old, is not sweet like the fortune cookies that were designed to fit American tastes. The novel idea of receiving a fortune in a light senbei cookie is not widely known in Japan. The tsujiura senbei contains a tsujiura (a writing that tells one's fortunes) inside a senbei (Japanese crackers). This senbei is traditionally found in Kyoto.

The origins of the Fortune Cookie as we know it today were laid down by the Chinese 49'ers who worked on the building of the great American railways through the Sierra Nevada into California.

Work was very hard and pleasures were few in isolated camps, those hard workers had only biscuits with happy messages inside, to exchange at the Moon festival instead of traditional cakes with happy messages, and thus the Fortune Cookie was born. This became something of a cottage industry and as the Chinese settled in San Francisco after the railway and the Gold boom the custom continued. Today it is almost impossible to have a Chinese meal in America and Canada without finishing with a Fortune Cookie.

After WWII, a number of Americanized Chinese restaurants copied the idea. Fortune cookies became very popular, served as a dessert after every meal at many restaurants. In addition to a fortune, fortune cookies may also contain lucky numbers (used by some as lottery numbers) and a Chinese phrase with translation.

Although they are served almost exclusively in Chinese restaurants abroad, fortune cookies are almost unknown in China. Places that serve them call them "Genuine American Fortune Cookies."


  1. Aloha,
    LOVE THIS POST! I never knew the origin and I find it very interesting, Mahalo for sharing and I am so happy I stopped in to see you,
    Aloha sunshine from across the see

  2. Funny...It is so American.
    What a melting pot we live in.

    Becky K.

  3. Interesting...I didn't know the history behind the fortune cookie.


  4. Wow, that's all fortune cookies? Beautiful! Enjoy your day!

  5. But.... this is not the new decade. The first year of the next decade won't be until the year 2011 !!!
    The measuring years and decades and centuries has always started with the number 1, not with the number 0.
    It's wonderful decor, but the Barney's people don't know know how to count.

  6. How very interesting! I never knew the story behind the cookie. The first picnic Hubby and I went on I made his favorite cashew chicken and spiced tea. I bought some fortune cookies 'cause I though it was appropriate. He downed the chicken and tea with delight but after takin' one bite of the fortune cookie he look at me and asked, "you make these????" When I replied no, the cookies were tossed in the woods by the lake for the critters. This chick hasn't served them since.

    Have a super day my friend!!!

  7. Great history of the fortune of my favorite parts of the chineese meal. Is that your garden in your header? It is absolutely gorgeous.

  8. Hello again Joyce. I just commented on your outdoor post. wonderful.

    Thanks for the history of the fortune cookie. Very interesting. In my experience most of them do not taste that good. However, in an upscale Chinese restaurant they taste much better.

    Hugs, Jeanne

  9. What a fun, interesting post. I truly have never read about the origin of the fortune cookie. Love the photo of Barney's window. Thank you for sharing it.
    Now I'm off to catch up on your previous post about Chinese New Year.

  10. My favorite store .. the mother ship on Madison also houses my favorite restaurant on the Eastside of the island .. Fred's .. AND I loved learning about the origins of the fortune cookie!

  11. You can count ordinal or cardinal numbers to answer garden of daisy comment above:)

  12. Enjoyed your bit of history behind the fortune cookie today! Thanks for stopping by today and leaving a note.

  13. Love to learn new things. Thanks for the info about fortune cookies!!

  14. I love fortune cookies but never knew the origin. Thanks for filling us in. Terry

  15. I had no idea of the origins of the fortune cookie - thanks for sharing. I learn something new every day. sandie

  16. How interesting! I never knew that.

  17. Hmmm…I clicked on the link in my blogroll for your Foodie Friday post and it didn't find it.

    BUT, I'm glad I didn't miss this one. Funny, but on Thursday I posted a picture of the fortune I found in my cookie the other day. We must have been on the same wavelength!

    I love fortune cookies and save the fortunes I love the best in hopes they will come true, lol.

    San Francisco is one of my favorite places of all time and that Barnie's window is fabulous, thanks for posting it and the history of these special little treats.


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