History of Fortune Cookie
For many centuries the Chinese have marked special occasions and festival times such as harvest and New Year with the giving and receiving of Moon Cakes these were made from Lotus Nut Paste. During the 13th and 14th centuries China was occupied by the Mongols. When plans were made in Peking for a popular uprising to oust the invaders, much thought was given how news of the date of the uprising could be circulated without alerting the Mongols.
The story goes that the Mongols had no taste for Lotus Nut Paste and so the Chinese hid the message containing the date in the middle Yuan Chang took on the disguise of a Taoist priest and entered occupied walled cities handing out Moon Cakes. These were the instructions to co-ordinate the uprising which successfully formed the basis of the Ming Dynasty.
Thus the tradition of giving cakes with messages was born and became a popular way of expressing wishes of goodwill or good fortune on an important occasion. 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, 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.
The first automated production of Fortune Cookies took place in America in 1964 before that they were made by hand. Sci Technology (Sci Tech) in Massachusetts, USA, is the major manufacturer of fully automated fortune cookie machines worldwide since 1980.