<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Fortune Cookie History


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The history of fortune cookies dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries when China was occupied by the Mongols.

The traditional lotus nut paste moon cakes were used in which to hide secret messages regarding the date of a popular uprising against the invaders. The moon cakes were distributed by the patriotic revolutionary Chu Yuan Chang (disguised as a Taoist priest) who was safe in the knowledge that the Mongols had no taste for lotus nut paste. The uprising was successful and so the basis of the Ming Dynasty was formed.

The transition from moon cakes to modern-day fortune cookies was born out of necessity in the hard days of the American gold rush and the railway boom. When the Chinese 69'ers were building the great American railways through the Sierra Nevada to California they put happy messages inside biscuits to exchange at the moon festival instead of cakes, and so fortune cookies began.

A cottage industry emerged as the Chinese settled in San Francisco and until 1964 (when the first automated production started) they were made by hand.


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