July 20 is National Fortune Cookie Day, according to some sources. Others say it’s on September 13. But as some fortune cookie probably says, “He who puts off pleasure until tomorrow misses out on pleasure today.” So I’m celebrating it now. In addition to the disagreement about the date, there is dispute over who came up with the fortune cookie idea first, and whether it’s Japanese American or Chinese American in origin.
Instead of arguing about which is the true National Fortune Cookie Day and who invented them, why don’t we join together in song? In 1971, Eve Plumb (who played Jan on The Brady Bunch) recorded a single called “The Fortune Cookie Song.” That was the B-side; the A-side was “How Will It Be?” Have a listen—it’s more awful than you can even imagine. In fact, it’s deliciously so!
If things have gone from bad down to awful
You feel so sad, it should be unlawful
Well I have found some words in a cookie
That very well could be helpful to you.
While having dinner down in Chinatown
A fortune cookie taught me not to frown…
Well, that song was pretty gruesome, but sometimes fortune cookies contain even worse horrors. If you ever saw the 1990 miniseries Stephen King’s ‘It,’ you were probably scarred for life by the Chinese restaurant scene in which various horrible things emerge unexpectedly from fortune cookies. Blood, a cockroach, an eyeball, and a live chicken embryo all burst forth from the cookies as the characters watch in shock and disbelief. John Ritter (Three’s Company) jumps back from the table in terror when his cookie grows claws. (Funny, that’s exactly what I do when a bee comes near my food.) The cast also includes Richard Thomas (The Waltons) and Harry Anderson (Night Court). If you’ve never seen it, enjoy:
Horrors emerge from fortune cookies in Stephen King’s It (1990)
Have a happy National Fortune Cookie Day! May your cookie have only paper inside.