Chinese and Chinese-American cuisine is my fave, although Thai is a close runner-up. According to a Smithsonian article, the fortune cookie served at the end of meals in either restaurant is of Japanese origin.
Pragmatic soul that I am, Fortune Cookies will still be a part of my Chinese New Year celebration.
How, you might wonder, does a child growing up down the street from the Rosarita’s plant where jalapenos, beans, enchilada sauce were once canned get her taste for Chinese food?
Reinforced by a Hawaiian school teacher (okay, Mrs. Viola Payne’s recipe was for Fried Rice, but to an 8 year old, that’s Asian).
Made unbreakable by repeated visits to China Town when I lived in Los Angeles.
Popa made Chop Suey. I don’t recall necessarily liking it (what child likes mushrooms?) but he also took me and Mom to eat out many Sundays at the Waldorf Cafe, a diner on Main Street in Mesa, Ariz. If I think about it I can see the white tabletop with the silver glitter flakes embedded in the Formica and a fuzzy image of the owner’s smile… or maybe it was the cook.
Hey! I am all for knowledge such as how to say “Pass the rice wine,” in Chinese and winning lottery numbers, but I enjoyed the forecasts more than the pithy little sayings.
A friend, who shall remain nameless lest she curse me with misfortune and release the skeletons in my closet, or perhaps release the skeletons from her closet into mine since they are not busy until the month of October, taught me that pithy little sayings can be transformed into fun with the addition of a simple phrase before or after:
Between the sheets…. or …Under the covers
Try it with these fortunes:
Between the sheets LOVE IS FOR THE LUCKY AND THE BRAVE.
YOU WILL FIND SOMETHING YOU LOST under the covers.
YOU WILL LAUGH LONG, LOUD, AND OFTEN between the sheets.
Under the covers IT’S AMAZING HOW MUCH GOOD YOU CAN DO IF YOU DON’T CARE WHO GETS THE CREDIT.
“Stop,” you say, snorting with laughter. “Carol, you have made me hungry and besides, I already play that game.”
Ingredients: 3 egg whites, 3/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 2 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons water
1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2 Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.
3 Have fortunes ready to go on small strips of paper.
4 In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites and sugar on high speed of an electric mixer until frothy, about 2 minutes.
5 Reduce speed to low, and then stir in melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, water and flour one at a time, mixing well after each.
Consistency should resemble pancake batter. Spoon the batter into 3 inch circles on the prepared baking sheets. Leave room between for spreading.
7 Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges begin to brown slightly.
8 QUICKLY remove one at a time, QUICKLY place a message in the center, and fold in half.
9 Fold the ends of the half together into a horse shoe shape. Hang over cup to dry. If they spring open, place them in a muffin tin to cool until set. (I skipped the hanging over a cup and just put them in the tin.)
Note: Although these cookies are not malleable if overbaked, you need to bake them long enough until they are golden around the edges or they will be too under baked and remain soft, spongy and pancake-like.
Tips: I have made these several times and they have turned out different each time — the first and third being the best. I used the bottom of a regular spoon to swirl the batter in to THIN 3-inch circles.
I think they would be delicious and look divine if one half was dipped in chocolate and then maybe rolled in sprinkles, don’t you?
Remember, Confucius did not say, but that does not make it not true: Woman who makes her own fortune cookies has imagination and hot fingers!
Wishing you all good fortune, Carol