The Writers Behind Your Fortune Cookie Aphorism

09 Oct 2020


It may come as a surprise to you that fortune cookies are not actually a Chinese invention.

While their true origins are widely debated, it is a common belief that the first fortune cookies appeared in California sometime in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

The real question is, though, who is behind the messages on those tiny pieces of paper hidden inside of the cookies? Is it some kind of all-knowing psychic?

According to this fascinating article from Mentalfloss, many fortune cookie companies actually rely on the wits and poetic words of freelance writers to come up with the witty sayings inside those sweet treats.

In fact, several successful authors actually got their start writing fortune cookie messages!

Don’t be fooled by those seemingly simple prophetic one-liners, though. While writing them may seem like an easy gig, it actually takes quite a bit of talent.

After all, the messages must appeal to a wide global audience, while not being overly specific or scandalous. (Nobody wants to crack open a cookie, only to read that they are going to lose their job or go break their neck!)

So, next time you get Chinese take-out, be sure to take a moment to appreciate the talent and thought that went into your cookie’s fortune.

Watercooler Writer 
Ever wonder what writers talk about? Our writers are always sharing something new with each other, from the latest and greatest in apps and technology to grammar rules and the origin of certain words. With our Watercooler Writer series, we have taken our very best finds, and are sharing them with you.

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