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Reflections: The Fortune Cookie’s Message…

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“Fortune knocks at every man’s door once in a life, but in a good many cases the man is in a neighboring saloon and does not hear her.” Mark Twain

Reflections: The Fortune Cookie's Message... "You will spend old age in comfort and material wealth"

Reflections: The Fortune Cookie's Message... "Smile when you are ready."

The first time I read a fortune cookie message was at Water Margin; a Chinese restaurant, in London, many years ago. I was tickled by the idea of retrieving a slip of paper wedged between a cookie and reading the wise message out loud.  Back then, it was a fun thing to do after a nice meal, yet the messages were always on par… I always got a message that I needed to hear and my friends felt the same way. I loved the food at Water Margin, and because it was local, across the street from our home in Golders Green, we also ordered takeaway meals from them regularly… and the fortune cookies were a big part of the experience.

“Happiness consists more in the small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.” Benjamin Franklin

Reflections: The Fortune Cookie's Message... "Always accept yourself the way you are."

When I moved to the USA, I found out that the local Chinese restaurants not only gave them as sweet messages at the end of a meal, but  sold them in bags and you could buy a big bag and dig into the messages and cookies to your hearts content. Over time, the novelty wore off and I abandoned the habit; tossing out fortune cookies that came my way.

Reflections: The Fortune Cookie's Message... "The greatest remedy for anger is delay."

Then, during a difficult phase in my life, I found myself going back to the gentle wisdom of the cookies and, one day, I opened a cookie and got a message that resonated with me and that I really liked; this was about 10-15 years ago. The message was: “You will spend old age in comfort and material wealth.”  I liked the spirit of promise and good fortune offered and I took the slip of paper and buried it in my wallet. I have carried that slip of paper for years and every time I look at the message, it puts a smile on my face and reminds me of a time in my life when I needed a positive message of hope to lift my spirits. I have three more I kept and I have added their messages to the pictures.

Nowadays, we find fortune cookies in all flavors and designs, but the one constant is that bit of paper wedged in the middle of a cookie… More below. 😉

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” Hermann Hesse

Reflections: The Fortune Cookie's Message... What is your favorite message?

Reflections: The Fortune Cookie's Message... May you find great fortune in a cookie...

Whenever we order food from our local Chinese restaurant, we get a few fortune cookies tossed in the takeout bag. Oddly, I don’t always open them unless I feel compelled to do so. Since I only open them periodically, I take the messages to heart and try to understand them within the context of  events in my life. Like the I Ching, the messages seem to come from a place deep within and they always sing to me… and then I go back to my favorite message, “You will spend old age in comfort and material wealth.”  What are your thoughts? Do you check the messages in fortune cookies? Do you have a favorite one? Do share! Thank you. 🙂

Positive Motivation Tip: The message in a fortune cookie can open our eyes to our strengths… Read one today.

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post:  Describe your favorite restaurant in the world.  Include a link to their website.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Strawberry cookie, Coconut cookie,  Plain cookieWedding cookie, Apple cookie, Giant Cookie, via Wikipedia.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

42 Comments leave one →
  1. 14/09/2011 12:01 am

    “I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” Hermann Hesse
    What a profound way to say how to relate to a fortune cookie. I love them! I have bad teeth and cannot eat the cookie, which I love by the way, but the messages always seem to bring something good. I know of a place that when you walk in they have a huge bowl and in it you grab your “fortune” for today. I love it, keeping positive is what it is all about. Great post and the food makes me want to Eat them all Eliz!! xo

    • 14/09/2011 3:12 am

      TY Jackie and yes, those pictures impressed me. I can’t believe the plain fortune cookie went all gourmet on us. I’d love to try some… I love the little messages and kept a few. 🙂

  2. 14/09/2011 12:48 am

    I check the messages in fortune cookies, but seldom remember them. One memory I do have involves my months as a fifteen-year-old hostess at a Chinese restaurant.

    Four very elderly ladies were laughing uproariously at a table near my register. I asked what they were laughing about. The lady in a wheelchair waved her fortune over her head, caught her breath from a laugh and said, “My fortune! It says, ‘You enjoy playing athletic sports!'”


    • 14/09/2011 3:14 am

      What a riot that story was… Yes, sometimes the messages are off the wall and then on other days, they are spot on. TY! 🙂

  3. 14/09/2011 1:02 am

    Oh Elizabeth! What scrumptious photos!! You are making me sooo hungry, especially for those strawberries mixed in with the cookies! Fortune cookies are so fun – I’ve always been of the opinion that if you don’t eat the cookie the fortune will not come true – so only eat it if you like the fortune!! I know, I know… I’m full of silly superstitions. Often thought of doing a post about the many superstitions I have. Maybe at Halloween! 🙂

    • 14/09/2011 3:16 am

      I am a bit superstitious too so I agree with you about eating the cookie… Yeah, the collection of cookie photos make me hungry too. TY! 🙂

  4. 14/09/2011 1:15 am

    I think fortune cookies can be so much fun. When I was a kid, I thought they were the best part of eating Chinese food. In some ways, they still are, giving us lots of food for thought. Nice post, and thank you for including a link to my fortune cookie story. 😉

    • 14/09/2011 3:19 am

      Yes, like you, I still think they are fun too and a great way to wrap up a fine work day… TY for stopping by. I will stop by your blog too. 🙂

  5. 14/09/2011 1:31 am

    Fortune cookies are great!! Love that you can also send oversized personalized fortune cookies as presents!…I love all of your pictures…

    • 14/09/2011 3:20 am

      TY and I was impressed by the selection too. 😉
      TY for liking the photos! 🙂

  6. 14/09/2011 5:47 am

    I used to love those Fortune Cookies too. They always said something heartening to help you digest your meal

    • 16/09/2011 3:28 am

      Yes, they do … Can you imagine getting a nasty fortune after a good meal? 😆 You do have a point on why they are so positive. TY! 🙂

  7. 14/09/2011 6:16 am

    I love fortune cookies, I got a message from one once that I kept in my purse but have long since forgotten it. Not sure if I still have it either…
    I’ve never liked the taste of the cookies themselves so I always give it away after taking the message out. 🙂
    Once I had a funny experience regarding fortune cookies that I posted about on MySpace and reposted on here awhile back. You’re welcome to read it if you would like! 😀

    • 16/09/2011 3:29 am

      Like you, I have kept a few that I really liked and form time to time I read them again… A way of cheering myself up. I will check out your post soon TY! 🙂

  8. 14/09/2011 9:23 am

    “You will spend old age in comfort and material wealth.”
    yes I’m old and I’m spending my days in comfort and material wealth.
    Life had been easier, if I knew that some decades before (like you)

    • 16/09/2011 3:30 am

      Good for you that life is easier… I am working on making it easier for me, but not quite there yet. TY! 🙂

  9. 14/09/2011 11:14 am

    One thing we love to do is play the fortune cookie game where everyone at the table reads his/her fortune aloud and at the end add the words “in bed.”

    It is totally immature but lots of fun! 😀

    • 16/09/2011 3:31 am

      Oh that is so funny… especially the end part. I enjoy the cookies and the messages. 🙂

  10. 14/09/2011 4:00 pm

    I taped my favorite fortune to the top of my alarm clock where it stayed for years:

    You will live a happy and peaceful life. 😀

    • 16/09/2011 3:31 am

      Cool! Good to know others did the same thing…
      I love those upbeat messages. 🙂

  11. 14/09/2011 7:10 pm

    I always thought fortune cookies were ancient Chinese wisdom until I got one that said, “Adidas does not a runner make.” That was when everyone was in to Adidas. I couldn’t stop laughing. I laugh even now when I remember it.
    I break break open the fortune cookie when I get Chinese just so I can read the message. I haven’t had another one as memorable.

    • 16/09/2011 3:32 am

      WoW! That was a collectible… You should have saved it… as I have never seen one that mentions an company or a current event. What a riot. 😆

  12. 14/09/2011 8:53 pm

    so as i was closing up shop today…i came across a fortune cookie message on the floor….( or it found me?) it made me think of this post…funny how things work right?

    the message: things are impossible until they are not

    i totally needed that.

    • 16/09/2011 3:33 am

      I love it… that is so perfect and the message makes you think. Love it. TY! 🙂

  13. 14/09/2011 9:50 pm

    I love reading the messages in fortune cookies,sometimes they are right on !!! I like “happiness is found in small conviences” – its the small things that can bring lots of happiness in our life. Great post ElizOF.

    • 16/09/2011 3:34 am

      The small things make a huge difference… I love the messages and the funny ones are the best. TY! 🙂

  14. 14/09/2011 11:12 pm

    Fortune cookie messages are wonderfully fun and great way to end meal time together…with a bit of laughter or inspiration for the road.

    • 16/09/2011 3:36 am

      That is true and Cocomino reminded me that it would not be wise for them to have negative messages since they are an after meal treat. TY! 🙂

  15. 15/09/2011 12:16 am

    Just cracked open a fortune cookie; the message reads:

    “Eliz is nominated for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award –

    Have an irresistibly sweet and happy day 🙂


    • 16/09/2011 3:37 am

      You are so sweet Mari and thank you… Sorry I have fallen behind on comments… Taking classes and will catch up asap. TY for the award and will stop by soon to thank you. 🙂

  16. 14/09/2011 10:24 pm

    Eliz, Your pictures are so beautiful… especially those strawberries, they look very delicious. My kids and I just had it yesterday 🙂
    Fortune cookies, I got it few years ago. Should try to get it again 🙂 It’s fun 🙂


    • 16/09/2011 3:35 am

      Good for you… The pictures I found on Wikipedia but I would love to try all those fancy cookies and see if the flavors are spot on… So far, I have only had the plain ones… TY! 🙂

  17. 15/09/2011 8:18 pm

    I read the messages, but I actually love fortune cookies, and not just for their fortune

    • 16/09/2011 3:38 am

      Greta that you like the cookies too… I find that mine vary depending on how long they’ve been sitting at the restaurant. Some are fresh and crunchy and others are not. TY! 🙂

  18. 16/09/2011 1:27 am

    One or my blog buddies posted this photo today of a fortune cookie shop – thought of you. Take a look

    • 16/09/2011 3:40 am

      Cool. I will check it out and maybe if it is local to NYC, I’ll pay them a visit.
      TY! Marcia! 🙂

  19. 19/09/2011 4:38 pm

    UYou know something? I have never had a fortune cookie! I love chinese food and have eaten it often, yet no fortune cookies!

    • 19/09/2011 10:35 pm

      Maybe it is time to try one Robyn. You might be nicely surprised… I presume they have them in Australia, right? 🙂

  20. 20/09/2011 12:35 pm

    This is such an enjoyable post. I really like your thoughts on fortune sayings you’ve read and your positive viewpoint. I’ve never seen such fancy fortune cookies either! I can’t remember specific fortunes I’ve gotten, but I love one of yours: “The greatest remedy for anger is delay.”

    • 17/10/2011 7:21 pm

      TY for your comment Cathy! I somehow missed it but appreciate it. Those fancy gourmet fortune cookies surprised me too… I’d love to try a few; especially the ones with chocolate. Yum. 🙂


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