Fortune Factory fortune cookie making kit, bottom


The I Made My Own Fortune Cookies: Fortune Factory is a stove top fortune cookie specialized pan with four circled grooves. The “Fortune Factory” letters are printed with the stereotypical “chop suey” font. Embossed on top of the pan are the letters “Fortune Factory” with an Asian styled palace. A figure in a conical hat and a shirt with oversized sleeves and a mandarin collar stands off to the side smiling, his eyes and eyebrows expressed with lines. To the right are these Chinese characters: 祝你幸運, meaning “good luck to you.”

The dorsal side of the box features a photograph of an East Asian man giving the universal OK sign in tacit approval of a smiling Caucasian woman holding the pan in one hand and a fortune cookie in the other.

Included with the pan is a sheet of paper detailing the recipe, warranty, and fortune writing advice. A panel features the same Asian man on the box in midst of fortune cookie creation, while the opposite panel features a cartoon of two presumably Caucasian male and female in formalwear delighting in reading fortunes.

Although fortune cookies are an American phenomenon, there is nonetheless a disparity between how both ethnicities are presented in the illustrated form. The biggest telltale is the expression of the embossed Asian man on the pan. Although the Asian man’s facial features are devoid of geometry and are absent of a nose, the illustrations of the Caucasian countenance (to whom this product would have been marketed to) are presented with clarity. The eyes are either circles or lines overlapped instead of a single linear line; the nose is expressed in a protruding manner from the bridge to the snout. The Asian man’s clothing consists of an exotic conical hat and an oriental shirt with ostentatious buttons. The Caucasians’ clothing is composed of Western formal wear: earrings and a black dress for the lady, and a turtleneck and a blazer for the gentleman. It is clear that fortune cookies were thought of as being extensively foreign and exotic, often attributed to characteristics that are representative of non-American origins.

Date Made: ca. 1970s

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Illinois, Chicago

See more items in: Work and Industry: Asian Pacific American Business


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2012.0113.01bAccession Number: 2012.0113Catalog Number: 2012.0113.02

Object Name: fortune cookie making utensil, bottom

Physical Description: metal (part: press material)wood (part: handle material)Measurements: part: press: 6 7/8 in x 6 7/8 in; 17.4625 cm x 17.4625 cmpart: handle: 6 3/4 in x 1 1/4 in x 1 1/4 in; 17.145 cm x 3.175 cm x 3.175 cm


Record Id: nmah_1422816

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