Happiness, Prosperity, and Longevity from Good Fortune


n attempting to live up to my other New Year's resolution to embrace new cultures and customs, I decided to celebrate the Chinese New Year for the first time.

Happy Chinese New Year! Now, if I can only remember to start writing 4713 on my prescription pads.

In attempting to live up to my other New Year’s resolution to embrace new cultures and customs, I decided to celebrate the Chinese New Year for the first time. I went on a trip to Chinatown in San Francisco, picked up a red envelope, ate some delicious Chinese food, and of course, cracked a fortune cookie.

Is it just me, or have the fortunes become dull and preachy over the past few years? Mine said, “All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs.” My husband's was just slightly less yawn-inducing: “Those who walk in other's tracks leave no footprints.”

What happened to cracking the cookie to receive a fortune that might tell you something fun and surprising—maybe even slightly disturbing—about yourself and your future? When did fortune writers decide that cookies were no longer for fortunes but an outlet for motivational therapy? Don't we have enough posters of mountain landscapes and soaring eagles on office walls to get us to exercise, emphasize the importance of teamwork, and reward thinking outside the box?

Many years ago, on a trip to San Francisco with my husband before the Internet was at our fingertips, we spontaneously came across a fortune cookie factory down an alley in Chinatown. We peeked in and saw dozens of people assembling cookies, throwing the end products into boxes for distribution to restaurants near and far.

The fortune writer was mysteriously nowhere to be found. A powerful and insightful force, this fortune writer must be comparable to the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. So powerful that people have been known to keep their favorite fortunes as mementos for years. I know my husband has a stack of them in his wallet, including 1 from our first date.

A few years ago, when my husband was cleaning out his wallet, I happened to save a fortune that struck me as the ultimate positive prediction, even if it's a bit general: “Your life will be happy and peaceful.” Words like that can only make you smile as you climb mountain after mountain in the New Year.

San Francisco Fortune Cookies


1 large egg

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

¼ cup cornstarch

1 to 2 tablespoons water


Beat egg slightly. Add in sugar and beat until the mixture is very thick and smooth. Then, add oil to mixture.

Add water and a little bit of the egg mixture to the cornstarch and stir until it is smooth. Beat into remaining egg mixture.

Heat griddle on medium heat, then drop a heaping spoonful of batter onto the griddle. Spread mixture with a spoon into a circle about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Turn over to brown the underside.

Cook until cookies are light golden in color and lift easily from the pan. Remove cookie from the griddle, and repeat with remaining batter.

Place a fortune paper in the center of the cookie and fold the cookie in half while warm, pinching the edges together and folding down.

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