For reasons I am at a loss to explain, I never tasted Chinese food until I went to college. Around the middle of my freshman year, I decided to make myself a “to do” list of experiences I’d always wanted to have. One of those things was trying Chinese food. Not long afterward, my roommate decided to take my cultural enlightenment into his own hands. “We’re going to Chinatown for supper tonight,” he said. Not only would he not take no for an answer, he even told me it was going to be a double date and who I was to ask out. I dutifully phoned the woman in question and off we all went, driving about an hour from the campus into the heart of Manhattan. That evening I had my first egg roll, my first wonton soup, and my first lo mein; I even managed to get the hang of chopsticks pretty readily. And needless to say, the meal ended with the obligatory fortune cookies, another novelty I’d never seen before. I’ve been a fan of Chinese cooking (and fortune cookies) ever since.
My adopted hometown of San Francisco also has a large and vibrant Chinatown, and I was delighted to learn that fortune cookies were in fact invented here. When we got married, Morgen and I decided to have a San Francisco-themed wedding. In addition to the San Francisco-shaped wedding cake (really), we got a bunch of those cardboard Chinese take-out containers, filled them with treats, and distributed them to all of our guests. Among the goodies was a custom-made fortune cookie with a special message thanking guests for attending. [Article Continues…]