Fortune Cookies

Fortune-cookies-2503077_640Fortune cookies are often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in the United States and some other countries, but are absent in China. The exact origin of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century, basing their recipe on a traditional Japanese cracker. Fortune cookies have been summarized as being “introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately … consumed by Americans.”

Back in the 19th century, a cookie very similar to the modern fortune cookie was made in Kyoto, Japan; and there is a Japanese temple tradition of random fortunes, called omikuji. The Japanese version of the cookie differs in several ways: they are a little bit larger; are made of darker dough; and their batter contains sesame and miso rather than vanilla and butter.

They contain a fortune; however, the small slip of paper is wedged into the bend of the cookie rather than placed inside the hollow portion. This cookie, called tsujiura senbei, is still sold in some regions of Japan.

The first modern-style fortune cookies reportedly were made by a San Francisco bakery and served by Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco in the 1890s or early 1900s. 

Several others also claim to have invented the cookie. David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, claimed that he did so in 1918. San Francisco’s Court of Historical Review attempted to settle the dispute in 1983. During the proceedings, a fortune cookie was introduced as evidence with a message reading, “S.F. Judge who rules for L.A. Not Very Smart Cookie”. A federal judge of the Court of Historical Review determined that the cookie originated with Hagiwara, and ruled in favor of San Francisco.

Seiichi Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, also stakes a claim to its creation. He claims to have gotten the idea of putting a message in a cookie from fortune slips (Omikuji) which are sold at temples and shrines in Japan. He claimed to have sold his cookies to Chinese restaurants in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, where they were greeted with much enthusiasm. Thus, Kito’s main claim is that he is responsible for the cookie being so strongly associated with Chinese restaurants. 

Up to around World War II, fortune cookies were known as “fortune tea cakes”—likely reflecting their origins in Japanese tea cakes.

Fortune cookies moved from being a confection dominated by Japanese-Americans to one dominated by Chinese-Americans sometime around World War II. One theory for this is because of the Japanese-American internment during World War II, which gave Chinese manufacturers an opportunity to step in. 

Fortune cookies before the early 20th century were made by hand. However, the fortune cookie industry changed dramatically after the fortune cookie machine was invented by Shuck Yee from Oakland, California. The machine allowed for mass production of fortune cookies, which allowed the cookies to drop in price and become the novelty and courtesy dessert with which many Americans are familiar today.

Despite many rumors, fortune cookies were not invented in China. In fact, in 1989 fortune cookies were reportedly imported into Hong Kong as “genuine American fortune cookies”. Wonton Food attempted to expand its fortune cookie business into China in 1992, but gave up because fortune cookies were considered “too American”. 

A recent visit to a favorite Chinese restaurant revealed the following fortune:

“For good health, eat more Chinese food.” 

Hmm, maybe I should try a different Chinese restaurant?

Excepted and adapted from Wikipedia.com.


Powers of Attorney Can Be Tricky For Those With No Close Relatives

Web-3120321_640On a nearly daily basis our office meets with or talks to people who want to draft powers of attorney because they understand the importance of having somebody else named to make decisions on your behalf if you are not able to.

People are particularly interested in whom to name as a financial agent in a power of attorney to ensure that their bills are paid when and if they are not able to do it for themselves, or if they just need assistance doing so.

Unfortunately, people sometimes come into our office who either do not have any children or close family members, or do not have any who they trust.  However, there are options for such people.

We are very fortunate in York County to have several individuals who will act as an agent under a power of attorney in these situations. They are typically small business owners who used to be either trust officers at a bank, healthcare professionals, or financial professionals such as accountants who are now looking to assist families with this type of work.

I always start with these referrals because I know these individuals personally, and know that they run reputable businesses which are there to help families that do not have anybody to name. There are also several local banks and financial institutions that also will act in the financial power of attorney agent capacity if asked to do so. I often find that one or more of these options are a good fit, especially when the person already works with the banking institution or financial institution and it makes complete sense to continue that relationship in this capacity as well.

Certainly, families need to consider cost of services versus the overall amounts of their assets, but in a situation where there is enough to justify paying an outside individual, those professional provide a wonderful service the value of which cannot be underestimated.

If you, a loved one, or a friend find yourself in this position, we are more than happy to discuss this situation to help find the right person or organization to act as your agent under your financial power of attorney or medical power of attorney.  Please give our office a call 717-845-5390 or click here to fill out our simple form and we’ll call you to to learn more about the value of powers of attorney and whom to name if you don’t have somebody that you trust.

Jeffrey Bellomo


Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 8th! Happy Grandparent's Day!

Grandfather-1434575_640Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day every year. So, why celebrate grandparents?

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Marian McQuade, a member of the West Virginia Commission on Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board, hoped to establish a day to honor the contributions grandparents and surrogate grandparents make to families everywhere. In 1970 she began a campaign to do so by highlighting the contributions of senior citizens to our country’s wellbeing.  In 1978 President Jimmy Carter declared the first Sunday after Labor Day to be National Grandparents Day. Each year, the president issues a proclamation to keep the tradition going. 

President Carter’s September 6, 1979 proclamation stated in part:  “As we seek to strengthen the enduring values of the family, it is appropriate that we honor our grandparents. Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. I urge officials of Government at the national, State and local levels and of voluntary organizations, to plan appropriate activities that recognize the importance and worth of the 17 million grandparents in our nation.”

Grandparents Day has grown since then. It now has an official flower, the Forget-Me-Not, and an official song, Johnny Prill’s “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa.” The National Grandparents Day Council chose both.

Other countries, including are Australia, Canada, Germany, Estonia, and Italy, also celebrate Grandparents Day, although not necessarily on the same day as in the United States.  

A spin off-of Grandparents Day is Gorgeous Grandma Day, celebrated on July 23, a day set aside to tell Grandma just how stunning she really is.  

Most grandparents really don’t care how we celebrate their day. It might be a family gathering, a dinner, a phone call or a card. The important thing is that we let grandparents know how much we appreciate the joy and wisdom they bring to our lives.

On Grandparents Day, it really is the thought that counts – just make sure your grandparents know that you are thinking of them. So, tell grandparents how much you appreciate them. You really don’t have to wait until September to do it, though. Give them a call today! And while you’re at it, you really should make a point to tell Grandma she is stunning every day!


Daffodils 🌼

Daffodil-3349706_640Ever wonder how and why beautiful daffodils grow in the wild, especially near ponds, brooks and springs?

Well, look no further than Greek mythology.

Daffodils belong to the genus known as Narcissus, which are predominantly spring perennial plants of the Amaryllidaceae family. Members of the genus are are the daffodil, daffadowndilly, narcissus, and jonquil.

Here is the myth of Narcissus, after whom these beautiful flowers are named:

Narcissus was a Greek hunter who loved beauty. He had a twin sister whom he loved more than anyone else in the world. This sister died when she was young and very beautiful. Narcissus missed her so very much that he wished he might die too.

One day, as he sat on the ground by a spring, looking absently into the water and thinking of his lost sister, he saw a face like hers looking up at him. It seemed as if his sister had become a water-nymph and was actually there in the spring, but she would not speak to him.

Of course the face Narcissus saw was really the reflection of his own face in the water, but he did not realize that. In those days there were no clear mirrors like today’s; and that a person could see his appearance in, for instance, a polished brass shield was a foreign concept. So Narcissus leaned over the water and looked at the beautiful face so like his sister’s, and wondered what it was and whether he would ever see his sister again.

After this, he came back to the spring day after day and looked at the face he saw there, and mourned for his sister. At last, the gods felt sorry for him and changed him into a flower and let him grow at the water’s edge.

This flower was the first narcissus or daffodil. All the flowers of this family, when they grow by the side of a pond or a stream, still bend their beautiful heads and look at the reflection of their own faces in the water.

So, there you have it. That’s why daffodils grow so beautifully in the wild.

Thank you Narcissus for giving us beautiful landscapes of nearby ponds, lakes and streams.