Every now and then, I eat at a so-so Chinese restaurant with a friend, because it’s situated next door to my favorite dive karaoke bar in the strip mall near my home (I know – awesome all around, right?). It’s always a good idea for me to fill up on fried rice before I head in for an evening of cheap, but strong drinks, or else I will end up singing, which amuses no one. Of course, each meal ends with a fortune cookie, which some, but perhaps not all, people know is not actually Chinese in origin at all. There is something of a debate on the true origins of the cookie. Claims have been made that it originated in San Francisco and in Los Angeles and was based on a Japanese dessert. No one is really positive, but there is no question it did not come from China.
Now, I’ve seen some ridiculous fortunes come out of those mildly sweet and crunchy (assuming they’re not stale) little delights, but the one I got most recently tops them all. See picture. Yes, it really said ‘Made in USA.’ I haven’t yet figured out if that is some cosmic commentary on the state of US economic affairs and the explosion of the China into the world market, or if it was some sly person’s attempt at clarifying for us dumb Americans that we did actually invent the fortune cookie.
Regardless, I like the image of some mischievous wit somewhere whose job it is to type in a gazillion different ‘fortunes’ into a computer. Can you imagine how much fun you could have, slipping in nonsense or completely inappropriate phrases, just to see how long you could get away with it before someone noticed?