Ray Richmond and his wife Jill Holden got too many lame fortunes when they cracked open their cookies after satisfying Chinese dinners.
“They would say something like, ‘Things are not always as they appear to you’ or something enlightening like that,” Richmond kidded. “We figured there had to be a better fortune cookie.”
Richmond is a TV critic of some note, for the past quarter-century writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, Los Angeles Daily News and The Orange County Register. His wife, Holden is an actress from Pretty Little Liars, Desperate Housewives and much more. He liked writing funny fortunes.
“I found out that I was very good at writing these short little personalized fortunes,” Richmond said. “These were the first Twitters, and my wife would be my sounding board and tell me what she liked.”
So, Richmond is launching Super Accurate Fortune Cookies, a whimsical batch of tasty flavored fortunes specifically geared for Hanukkah and Christmas. The cookies taste better than most cookies, with flavors of coconut and blueberry, mint and strawberry.
Inside the Christmas fortunes, it may say:
- It’s confusing to you that there is a Christmas Eve but no Christmas Adam.
- If you’re a lord, please stop leaping. You’re scaring the children.
- Soon you will consider donning gay apparel.
Inside the Hanukkah fortunes, it may say:
- We’re all a little verklempt this time of year, bubele. But don’t shvitz the small stuff.
- Your most vexing dilemma this month is whether to go with applesauce or sour cream.
- I’m Judah Maccabee, and I approve this message.
It seems like an odd thing to do for a 55-year-old critic who’s fed up with TV. Richmond said the last straw was when he had to review a reality show about short people getting married.
“I thought, this is the end of my life,” Richmond quipped. “I found a niche to do something else.”
Richmond still writes for Deadline Hollywood, and has written books about The Simpsons, Jeopardy and TV Moms. He has lived for a decade in Studio City, just on the border of Sherman Oaks.
“I love this area, it’s close to everything, it’s convenient,” he said, sipping a coffee at Peet’s on Ventura Boulevard, not far from where he lives. He found a company that makes flavored fortune cookies and invested about $25,000 in order to build a better cookie.
“The cookie has to be as unique on the inside and they shouldn’t taste like cardboard,” Richmond said. “Everyone cracks them open, even if they don’t eat it, they want to see that the fortune will tell you mystically about your life and if they get a great one they will pin it up on the refrigerator.”
After doing some research, Richmond discovered that many fortunes are recycled from nearly a century ago, and rarely renewed.
“This is an area of the literary world that needs punching up,” Richmond said. “Why leave it to chance, purchase your entertainment, you get what you pay for."
For $8.99 you get a box of 10 flavored and funny cookies that claim to be "77 percent more accurate than regular fortune cookies.” So far, no one has challenged that.
A few customers have given him raves.
"The ability to purchase absolute accuracy for the price of a cookie has saved me thousands of dollars,” said Cathryn Michon, actress, filmmaker and baked good aficionado. "Gone are the lawyers, shrinks and psychics. Turns out all I needed was these cookies!"
Andy Cowan, writer of Seinfeld and Cheers said, “Ironically, these are anything but cookie cutter. They speak to me, which is more than I can say about my agent."
In the past week, Richmond sold a large order to Bonanza Gift Shop in Las Vegas for the Christmas/Hanukkah holiday season. He plans to expand to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Days, Halloween, anniversaries and he can do personalized labels for special events. He said he hopes to land a large Panda Express-like account for his specialized treats.
“I’m always coming up with new ones, and they will always be fresh," he said. And of course, his wife will always give him the thumbs-up and thumbs-down.
Read more about the Super Accurate Fortune Cookies at smartestcookies.com and find out about ordering your own. Also see Richmond in the videos above.