Teaching Students About Fortune Cookies
Fortune cookies are an iconic symbol associated with Chinese restaurants in the United States and other countries. However, many people are unaware that their origin doesn’t date back to ancient China, but rather, they were created in the early 20th century in the US. Exploring the history, production, and significance of fortune cookies can empower students to learn about different cultures and gain a deeper understanding of food traditions. This article will guide teachers on how to approach the subject of fortune cookies to engage and educate their students.
Begin by providing students with a brief history of fortune cookies. Although they are commonly associated with Chinese culture, most scholars agree that their origins can be traced back to early 20th-century America. It is believed that Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese immigrant living in San Francisco, was inspired by traditional Japanese rice crackers called “tsujiura senbei” and created the first modern fortune cookie. Introducing students to this information can challenge their assumptions about cultural connections and lead to discussions about how food can become linked with specific cultures over time.
When teaching students about fortune cookies, a demonstration of their production can be highly engaging. Show your students how fortune cookies are made using videos or hands-on demonstrations (if available). Explain that the process includes creating a thin circular batter, baking it rapidly while wrapping fortunes inside as they fold into the familiar shape. By revealing the hard work and dedication behind each fortune cookie, students will gain a greater appreciation for them as more than just simple dessert treats.
Fortune Writing Exercise:
One fun way for your students to engage with this topic is by having them write their own fortunes. Encourage them to be creative in expressing positive sentiments and life advice within the limited space provided on small slips of paper which would traditionally be placed inside the cookie. Share examples of typical fortune cookie messages to inspire their work. When students have finished writing, they can exchange and read each other’s fortunes, sparking insightful discussions and promoting cultural understanding.
Incorporating a lesson about fortune cookies in your classroom is a fantastic opportunity to discuss multiculturalism, food traditions, and globalization. Encourage your students to explore how different cultures have their own traditions or rituals surrounding food and how it can bring people together. Through these discussions, students may become more open-minded, empathetic, and interested in learning about other cultures and celebrating differences.
Teaching students about fortune cookies allows them to explore the fascinating history of a popular cultural icon while also opening up discussions about food customs and multiculturalism. By using hands-on activities like fortune-writing exercises as well as providing historical context and insights into production methods, teachers can create an engaging learning experience that fosters cross-cultural understanding. Don’t be surprised if your students gain newfound appreciation for this humble treat, keenly aware of the intricate stories hidden within its golden folds.