The fortune cookies actually start out as flat discs. The dough is baked, the fortunes are place on them, and the cookie is folded while it’s still warm and pliable.
Ever wonder how the fortune gets inside the fortune cookie? Tiny fortune fairies? Bakers with really nimble hands, maybe?
The cookies actually start out as flat discs. The dough is baked, the fortunes are place on them, and the cookie is folded while it’s still warm and pliable. Eventually the cookie hardens with the fortune inside.
Even though the sayings are often Chinese proverbs, the technique isn’t an ancient Chinese secret. It’s believed that the fortune cookie debuted in San Francisco in the early 1900s, where a restaurant owner served them alongside tea.
Back in the day, the cookies were folded by hand using only a chopstick as a tool.
In 1974 the process became mechanized with the introduction of the first fortune cookie folding machine. Since then the machines have been tweaked and optimized and can now produce about 8000 cookies an hour.
Another purely American Chinese restaurant standby is the origami inspired Chinese take-out container.
The folded to-go box first appeared in Chicago in 1894, around the time Chinese restaurants were quickly populating the American landscape. The box didn’t get its signature red pagoda decoration until the 1970s.