Speaking Of Fair Food And Doughnuts . . . .

How serendipitous!  Right after writing about fair food and America’s love of doughnuts, I see a news item that combines the two.

This year’s New York State Fair will be serving up the Big Kahuna Donut Burger.  This quarter-pound burger is served between slices of a grilled glazed doughnut.   With cheese, bacon, and the fixin’s, The Big Kahuna Donut Burger comes out to about 1,500 calories:  a true, over-the-top gutbuster.  What will they think of next?  Couldn’t they have worked a deep-fried Snickers bar into the mix somehow?

I’d like to see someone slug down a Big Kahuna Donut Burger and then take a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl — at least, I’d like to see it from a safe distance.

Fun At The Fair

Tomorrow the 2011 Ohio State Fair begins.  There will be some differences this year — for one, beer will be served for the first time in more than 100 years, although apparently only at adult events at one of the concert venues — but the core of the Fair will be the same as it has been for decades.

In the livestock barns, 4-H kids will be showing animals they have raised and fed and tenderly cared for since birth.  The poultry pavilion will be a cacophony of cackling and quacking and honking by often-exotic looking fowl.  Delicious fresh ice cream and milkshakes will be sold at the dairy building, next to the traditional butter cow and butter calf.  Other buildings will house concession stands that hawk garage sale items and curious products you normally see only on TV.  On the Midway, there will be vomit-inducing rides and a rich display of tattoos.  And everywhere there will be legendary Fair food that ranges from home-cooked meals prepared by church groups to the most absurd fried offerings imaginable.

I love the Fair.  I love the animal and vegetable competitions and horse shows and the chance to reconnect with Ohio’s great agricultural heritage.  I love the Fair’s timeless quality and old-fashioned feel.  And how can you beat the food?

If you’ve never been to the Ohio State Fair, you’re missing something.  This year’s edition runs from July 27 to August 7.

Fair Food

The 2010 Ohio State Fair is in full swing.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make the Fair this year.  That means I’ll miss the pungent smells and interesting sights at the animal barns, the fervent pitches of the mop and cleaning solution salesmen at the “As Seen On TV” pavilion, and the dust, tattoos, and piercings that are the hallmarks of the Midway.  Fortunately, all of those attractions, and many others at the Fair, are timeless.  If I can’t check them out this year, I’ll be able to do it next year, and I probably won’t miss much of anything.

There is one area, however, where the Fair evolves rapidly and missing a year can be crucial.  I’m speaking, of course, about Fair food.  When we first started going to the Fair, you looked for corn dogs, a slice of pizza, a wedge of pie, caramel apples, cotton candy, and salt water taffy.  Over the years, elephant ears, funnel cakes, and the proudly advertised yet plainly described “fried dough” were introduced to great popular acclaim.  Then came developments like the Hot Roast Beef Sundae, the 84-ounce “Lemon Shake-Up,” which consists of ice, a lemon, and a cup or so of sugar, and other monuments to healthy eating.

This year’s Fair website has a helpful “food finder” so that every visitor to the Fair can immediately make a beeline for their favorite Fair food.  Check out some of what I am missing this year:  Deep fried garlic mashed potatoes and bacon cheddar mashed potatoes on a stick with seasoned sour cream dipping sauce!  Chocolate covered bacon!  Fried dill pickles!  French fries with ranch dressing and crumbled bacon topping!  Deep fried Oreos!  Deep fried cookie dough, fried cheesecake, deep fried Cap’n Crunch, and deep fried s’mores!  (And the last options are all available from the same concession stand!  My God, is it located near qualified medical personnel?)

Makes you want to eat and drink to bursting and then go on a ride like the Gravitron or the Viking Ship, doesn’t it?