Betrayed by a Fortune Cookie

Last Saturday, we had lunch at a local Chinese restaurant in my home town of Phoenix.

Being born and raised in New York City, and after living in San Francisco for ten years, I find there tends to be a difference in style between the two Coasts when it comes to preparation. Luckily in Phoenix, you can find Chinese food that caters to either palate.

East Coast Chinese tends to be very Americanized – chow mein, egg foo young, heavy sauces, crispy noodles, sweet and sour everything. West Coast tends to be lighter with lots of seafood options and gentle flavors. East Coast reminds me of my childhood – West Coast – my once insurmountable Mill Valley mortgage.

But both Coasts share one thing in common. The check always arrives with a Fortune Cookie.

Though once disputed by the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, the Courts found in 1983 that the fortune cookie was an early invention of a San Francisco bakery. Should you journey to San Francisco, you can see the cookies being made at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory – part of a walking tour which includes Chinatown.

So there we were at China Chili (East Coast style) in Phoenix. The meal all but consumed and along comes the check. We both reached for our fortune cookies. Jeff, read his aloud. Typical fortune about a bright future. I opened mine and stared at the slip of paper – “Faith answered. No one was there.”

I’ve heard of a bad meal but not a bad fortune cookie. I almost insisted on a do-over as I watched Jeff fall apart with laughter.

Now I realize a writer needs more than faith to be successful, but somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I’d hoped faith in future success would be an advantage.

Next time, I think I’ll ask for the almond cookie.

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