Misfortune Cookies

In food on 01/07/2009 at 5:13 pm

With the coming of the Year of the Tiger at the end of the month, my thoughts turned to fortune cookies today. In the tradition of demotivation posters, what if there were fortune cookies that had facetious messages in them instead of the cheesy sayings that you usually find?

Things like Sorry, you do look fat in those pants, or Better luck next election are sure to be a hit. We could even make custom quips to suit your occasion. Hilarity ensues at office or birthday parties, or you send them to your mortal enemy, tongue firmly in cheek. Yes, “misfortune” cookies are the next big trend, with fun flavors like pandan, cheddar cheese, durian, coconut and in bright rainbow colors. Patent pending!

A bit o’ history: “For many centuries the Chinese have marked special occasions and festival times such as harvest and New Year with the giving and receiving of Moon Cakes these were made from Lotus Nut Paste. During the 13th and 14th centuries China was occupied by the Mongols. When plans were made in Peking for a popular uprising to oust the invaders, much thought was given how news of the date of the uprising could be circulated without alerting the Mongols.

The story goes that the Mongols had no taste for Lotus Nut Paste and so the Chinese hid the message containing the date in the middle Yuan Chang took on the disguise of a Taoist priest and entered occupied walled cities handing out Moon Cakes. These were the instructions to co-ordinate the uprising which successfully formed the basis of the Ming Dynasty.

Thus the tradition of giving cakes with messages was born and became a popular way of expressing wishes of goodwill or good fortune on an important occasion. The origins of the Fortune Cookie as we know it today were laid down by the Chinese 49’ers who worked on the building of the great American railways through the Sierra Nevada into California.

Work was very hard and pleasures were few in isolated camps, those hard workers had only biscuits with happy messages inside, to exchange at the Moon festival instead of traditional cakes with happy messages, thus the FORTUNE COOKIE was born. This became something of a cottage industry and as the Chinese settled in San Francisco after the railway and the Gold boom the custom continued. Today it is almost impossible to have a Chinese meal in America and Canada without finishing with a Fortune Cookie.”

Here’s a cost breakdown of the overhead required for such an endeavor, in the smallest, cheapest quantity possible:


Description: The machine is fully automated and produces 600 cookies per an hour and the machine can be used where fortune cookie demand is not high or for the usage in a restaurant or in a shop in a mall for display.

Price: Basic $25,000.00 for a brand new automated machine. In addition $700.00 for a wooden box and handling charge will be added.

Training Program in 2 possible ways:
(1) One operator (or more) will be trained on the premises of SCI during the acceptance test. The training program is provided so that the customer’s operator will be knowledgeable and proficient to maintain and debug machines.
The acceptance test is done to ensure that a machine is operating smoothly and producing good cookies. This test will be conducted during the training period. The training program will take about 2 days with a $1,500.00 fee. Traveling expenses shall be borne by the buyer. $1,500.00 charge is prepaid before the program starts.
(2) In the case the program is not taken, then the training will be done using a training video, a manual and pictorial email communications.

Servicing and Documentation: In addition there is $2,000.00 service charge which is prepaid prior to the departure of a SCI service man.

General recipe of fortune cookies for the cost analysis.
100 lbs of wheat flour
65 lbs of sugar
4 lbs of margarine or
3 dozen of eggs
90 lbs of water

Other ingredients for different taste is up to the machine user; you might add coloring agent, flavor, but they are not required.

For the above ingredients you will get 170 lbs of cookies and about 12,000 cookies. It takes about 30 hours to produce them.

The following operations are carried out in sequence to perform the above activities.

  1. Pump right amount of pre-mixed cookie batter onto a cookie cup.
  2. After the batter pumped onto a cup a cookie cover plate comes down On the cookie cup so to spread out the batter filling the cookie cup.
  3. 24 sets of cookie cup and cover plate are mounted on 4 round flight to form the turret.
  4. The flight rotate in the space between top oven gas pipe and bottom gas oven pipe. Top oven heats cookie cover plates while the bottom oven heats cookie cups.
  5. Scrape (Peel Off) cookies from cookie cover plates using a scraper arm.
  6. Stuff a fortune message slip which is picked using vacuum into a round cookie.
  7. Fold the cookie in a half with a fortune message inside a cookie.
  8. Then continue to fold a cookie by grabbing both ends of half circle cookie around A bar located in the middle of the half circle cookie.
  9. Push the folded cookies from a folding area.
  10. Chill the hot cookies using an electric fan while cookies are being pushed out

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