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Fortune Cookies Making A Statement

Has anyone except me noticed that fortune cookies are quickly becoming relics?

Lest you misunderstand, the folded wafer that always comes with your takeout Chinese food is as ubiquitous as ever. But they rarely contain actual fortunes any more. When my parents took us to a Chinese restaurant back in the 1960s and '70s, the cookies always contained a fun message of hope: "Be kind to a child, and good things will come your way." Or "This winter, the cold weather will bless you in unexpected ways."

These days, it seems that the writers of Chinese cookie messages either are lousy grammarians or have just gotten lazy. The way the cookie message trends have been going lately, I think they should be marketed now as "Statement Cookies." They're certainly not fortunes any more.

Some of the cookies' messages have become even more assertive, becoming what I call "Imperative Cookies": "Recycle your boxes -- you'll help the environment." Or "Mop the floor ... your spouse will love you for it."

Social media is bad enough: Do our Chinese desserts have to tell us what to do now?


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