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My fellow Texans, our supremacy is being challenged. Now is the time to rise to the occasion, to show what we’re made of, and that our creativity in the fried-food arts cannot be topped.
Yes, I’m talking about state fair food.
We are the state that came up with the corn dog, Frito Pie, Fried Frito Pie, chicken-fried steak, chicken-fried bacon, fried butter, fried peach cobbler, fried Coke, fried margaritas, and fried beer. I’m saying we’re that good, or bad, depending on how you look at it.
But Iowa’s state fair has some promising food items that threaten our junk food dominance. Yes, I’m talking about a bacon-wrapped corn dog. Frightening, I know.
It’s enough to make a cardiologist’s heart go pitter-pat.
On top of that, Iowa has taken even something as innocuous as the funnel cake and made it better by using chocolate cake batter, and then topping it with coconut pecan icing to make a kind of fried German chocolate cake. They’ve done a similar thing with carrot cake batter.
And that’s not all. There’s also one item that even my foodie imagination cannot grasp. I quote the Des Moines Register: “Deep-fried Pickle Dawg - A quarter slice kosher dill, covered in cream cheese, wrapped in ham or pastrami, dipped in batter and deep fried.”
I’m not sure whether I should be horrified, or fascinated. I always thought of Iowa as a quiet, sheltered kind of state, like all the square states. (Iowa is square-ish, right?) But they’re definitely thinking outside the box on these food choices.
Horrified, I started checking out other fairs’ foods. Obviously — and I’m not bragging here — Texas’ state fair is acknowledged as the biggest in the nation, followed distantly by Minnesota, California, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.
They all claim to have their various specialities, and I’ll share a smattering of those with you, courtesy of FoodChannel.com, Delish.com and EndlessSimmer.com:
Fried Avocado bites (California, of course); Pizza Cones, which are pizza crusts in the shape of an ice-cream cone filled with sauce, cheese and meat (Indiana); Bacon dipped in chocolate (also Indiana); Maggot Melt, which is a cheeseburger topped with fried maggots — big ones, there was a deeply disturbing photo... (Colorado); Deep-fried Cheddar-Bacon mashed potatoes on a stick (Minnesota); and of course then there are the fried Twinkies, Oreos, ice cream bars, candy bars, etc., all of which have their fans and are sold all over.
But the mere idea that we could be eclipsed in this fried-pork-and-batter battle is intolerable.
Let no one’s arteries be more clogged than ours, no one’s tastebuds be more tantilized, no one’s wallets flatter. It’s our time, and it’s a-wastin’.
Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Daily Sun. Her column appears on Sundays. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” to this column? Email: email@example.com