Saturday, October 14, 2006

Minnesota Fortune Cookies

I imported my husband from Minnesota. In case you are not familiar with the state, it has its own unique culture, accent and common phrases. On our last visit back, we bought a book called "How to Talk Minnesotan - A Visitor's Guide." Of course, this is a tongue-in-cheek humorous explanation of the cultural idiosyncrasies, but there is a grain of truth in it. I'm going to give you an excerpt, but I need to give a bit of background information.

One of the key points stressed in the book is that Minnesotans are careful about being too positive about things. The general view is that something negative will be just around the corner. "It's okay to have good feelings but there's no sense running down the street telling people about it at the top of your voice. There's a good chance it won't last, anyway. Good things happen - yes - but when they do, Minnesotans are a little nervous because they know something bad will eventually happen to balance it out."

Okay, here is my favorite excerpt:

"When Chinese restaurants began to open in Minnesota, one of the first obvious changes the owners had to make was to remove the soy sauce from the table (Minnesotans kept mistaking it for coffee) and replace it with ketchup. But what kept Minnesotans away from Chinese restaurants more than anything else was the fortune cookies - the fortunes left customers with a bad taste in their mouth. So the restaurants, due to public demand, now serve Minnesota-style fortune cookies. Here are the ones I have collected from friends.

  • You will change the oil in your car every 2000 miles.
  • There could be thunderstorms tomorrow.
  • You will run out of 2 percent milk.
  • A stranger will knock on your door and try to sell you cancer insurance.
  • The tops on your new shoes are not real leather.
  • People around you think you are okay, mostly.
  • Romance will enter your life unless you're careful.
  • The smell in your root cellar is a dead gopher.
  • The big shade elm in your front yard has had it."


kristina said...

Uff da. We caught a lot of flak from "Fargo". I have never seen it. Ironic since Fargo isn't even in Minnesota. I don't know how much truth is in "How to speak Minnesotan" - I don't know if I do those things? Do you see it in Denis? I do know people who put ketchup on everything and a few who think black pepper is too hot. I have a friend that burned his tongue on Big Red gum.

Tracy said...

Well, Denis is originally from Iowa, but he lived in Minnesota for 10 years or so. He does not have a Minnesota accent, but he does avoid being overly positive about things. Great praise for a meal I make is "that's all right." That's the only thing I really see in him from the book.