Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fair Food Fun!

by Caren Crane

Kirsten started a fun food conversation yesterday, so just for fun here are some foods I will be looking for when the North Carolina State Fair kicks off in mid-October!

Cotton Candy and Candied Apples - classic!

Fried Twinkies - not sure about those

Fried Snickers - disgusting, yet compelling

Fried Coke?! It has strawberries, strawberry syrup and is served with Coke syrup. I can't even conceive what that must taste like.

So, what is your favorite fair food? Onion rings, corn dogs, kettle corn? Apple dumplings with ice cream and frozen cheesecake on a stick? What is the most exotic fair food you have tried? Banditas love to talk about food!


Shari C said...

key lime pie on a stick...very good!!! also love pork chop on a stick and will absolutely NOT leave our state fair without having honey ice cream.... absolutely wonderful!!! you can have just a ice cream cone or a sundae (or if you are like me, one of each). I admit I stop by their stand more than one time when I go to the fair as it is the only time you can get this terrific treat.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, state fairs sound like great fun! Wish I could come. Caren, those pictures were great in a horribly fascinating sort of way!

The city near where I grew up, Brisbane in Queensland, has a huge show (the Oz equivalent to a fair, I suspect). It's called the Brisbane Exhibition but in true Aussie style, everyone calls it the Ekka. If you've got a long name, we shorten it. If you've got a short name, we generally lengthen it by adding 'ie' at the end. Don't ask me why. It's obviously some weird genetic mutation! Anyway, the Ekka is when the country comes to the city. You know, cows and horses and sheep and ducks and chickens and displays of vegies. (Um, there's an example of that weird linguistic quirk). And cakes and paintings and fashion shows and sideshow alley. And dogs and cats which I always loved.

My favorite Ekka food was fairy floss. Haven't had it for years! Yum!

Gillian Layne said...

I'm from Kansas and grew up on a farm, so we live and breathe fairs of any size, local, county, state....

I eat as much cotton candy as my fingers can handle without totally sticking together, then move on to corn dogs, and funnel cakes. And I like my Coke in the snow cone variety, as well as any peach pie a church group might be selling...

Honestly, I've put on five pounds just writing this :)

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Gillian (madly waving!). Actually I think what you call cotton candy is our fairy floss. It's pink spun sugar and must be hell on dental health!

Andrea said...

Oh, do I love funnel cake!! YUM-O! I also love cotton candy. Seeing those pictures makes me want to go to a fair!! :)


Helen said...

Here in Sydney we have The Royal Easter Show where the country comes to the city and I love going lots of exhibits of arts and crafts and of course lots of animals. As for food I really love pluto pups which is a frankfirt dipped in batter and deepfried on a stick and must have tomato sauce and I also like fairy floss (cotton candy)and It is a long time since I have had a toffe apple. Yes I too have always loved the show as we call it and always have fun when we go.
Have Fun

Anonymous said...

Now I'm hungry ;) Cotton Candy and Candied Apples are my favorites, along with a Whistle Dog, which is a hot dog with bacon and cheese :)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey, thanks, Caren, for more junk food talk because, really, I didn't get enough with the donuts and potato chips yesterday. Sheesh.

The thing is, I live in LA where we're much too sophisticated to think about junk food and county fairs and deep fried...whatever. We sophisticated types eat arugula and stuff. We would never ever think of dipping, say, a Snickers bar in a vat of gooey batter and deep frying it. I mean, Hello! We'd never do that! Never! I mean it!

So...uh...what exactly goes into that batter, anyway? I'm just askin'......

Joan said...

Dear Lord, woman! What a way to torture a Weight Watcher.

Corn dogs, hands down though I've sinced learned from my Bandita sisters I get those year round at Sonic. (I suspect that they still wouldn't taste the same...not without the wafting scents from the BARNS)LOL

And funnel cakes straight up with powedered sugar. I can do the addition of stewed apples but plain and fried with the snowy hint of sweetness. Yum!

Our Kentucky State Fair also serves "pork butt on a stick". I love pork but really, can't get past the image of that.

This year I got to attend the fair with a delightful 3 year old named Ella. Who made sure we saw EVERY duckie, chickie, cow, piggy and goat. She got to pet a goat through the fencing, looked up at me with big blue eyes and said "Joan, Darling pet the goat".

So I did.

Anonymous said...

Shari--key lime pie on a stick? wow! the sheer logistics of it boggles my mind. :-)

gillian--don't worry, you're in good company. We're going to have to start up a Banditas Weight Watchers chapter soon. ;-)

bonnie and andrea, I'm with you on the cotton candy. Melts in the mouth with an ahhhhh...

As for me, well, I'm actually pretty much a city kid. Never did fairs when I was growing up, and I've only been to one locally, which was fun but small.

I'm still stuck on the whole donut thing.

Guess what I had for breakfast this morning? Sigh. It was really my husband's fault. He needed some auto supplies, and next door to the auto supply shop guessed it...a handmade donut store. One that our neighbor (who is a cop, no less) recommended as the best in the city. As if I'm going to be able to resist a freshly made buttermilk bar from the best donut shop on the city? Ha!

Christine Wells said...

Yes, I'm an Ekka girl, too! We call cotton candy fairy floss and candy apples toffee apples. I think the toffee apples were my favourite, though I'd usually eat the toffee and leave the apple on the stick!

We also had these strawberry ice creams made with real strawberries that were a hit with those who like that sort of thing. I'm more of a chocolate girl myself. Oh, yes, Helen we called your pluto pups Dagwood Dogs. Disgusting battered frankfurts. Don't think I ever tried one of those but it wouldn't be the Ekka without them!

Caren Crane said...

Shari, what is it about having food on a stick that makes it better? I love chocolate-dipped, frozen cheesecake. It's so decadent and so wonderful!

Honey ice cream sounds marvelous! Maybe we'll have some of that this year. Yum!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I think your Ekka must be quite like our State Fairs. State Fairs are generally held in the capitol city (lucky me, that's Raleigh for NC!). We have groups come in for all sorts of competitions: livestock, produce (fruits and veggies), canning, baking, plants. You name it--if it's agricultural, it's there!

And fairy floss sounds like cotton candy--spun sugar strands, rights?

Caren Crane said...

Helen and Christine, your Pluto dogs and Dagwood Dogs sound like our corn dogs. Only, they aren't dipped in flour batter, it's cornmeal batter. I can't imagine them in flour batter. Do tell!

And Helen, is "tomato sauce" what we call ketchup? It's tomato sauce sweetened with sugar and made thick and disgusting (except on hot dogs and hamburgers and french fries *g*).

I love this multicultural food talk!

Caren Crane said...

Bonnie, Whistle Dogs sound like pure evil! In NC, they tend to eat everything with cole slaw (which is a shredded raw cabbage and mayonnaise or vinegar dressing - can be great or awful, depending on who makes it). So, you find hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue with optional cole slaw.

Maybe it's because I grew up in Tennessee (in Nashville, another capitol city!), but I never got the hang of slapping cole slaw on everything.

Caren Crane said...

Sorry, Joan. I'm with Andrea. Just looking at pictures of fried food made me feel like I should hit the gym.

Kate, you would be appalled at the food you find at the fair! I would bet the California State Fair has a load of healthy and unhealthy options. (shooshes off to do research) Aha! Here is what I found at the CA State Fair website:

"There are lots of new deep-fried goodies at the California State Fair, including the all NEW Elvis Sandwich, deep-fried Coke and deep-fried Cheesecake.

If you're really adventurous, you can even try deep-fried frog legs!

There are some fresh and healthy options as well. Something for every palate.

Only at the California State Fair. Don't miss it!"

There you have it. Fried Coke, only at the California State Fair!

Caren Crane said...

Kirsten, we may need an intervention and some sort of twelve-step program to get you off the fried dough. Seriously. Put down the doughnut and back away slowly...

Caren Crane said...

Christine, in addition to candied apples (with a hard red candy coating), we also have caramel apples (covered in delicious, chewy caramel). Caramel apples were always my favorite.

One year, at a County Fair in rural Pennsylvania, I ate a candied apple and managed to pull three loose teeth. My mother was thrilled, because I was 11 and she was going to have to pay the dentist to pull the teeth so I could get braces.

It worked so well that she bought me another when we went to some sporting event or other and I managed to pull another tooth!

Helen said...

Caren yes we call ketchup tomato sauce here in Australia and I gotta say a lot of Aussies have tomato sauce on heaps of things never does to run out of tomato sauce in my house.
Have Fun

jo robertson said...

At our state fairs, churros -- hope that's the right spelling -- are very big. They're a sweet dough, deep-fried, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Sooooo yummy and soooo unhealthy. But I can't resist them. jo

Deb Marlowe said...

Oh, evil, Caren!

I've always loved the hot sausage sandwiches at the Fair, stuffed with onions and peppers. I've seen the Fried Oreos and Twinkies and Snickers and Cheesecakes, but never been brave enough to try one. I'd probably love it--it's better not to know. :-)

I like the candy and caramel apples too.

Caren, I'll go with you this year and you can introduce me to Cheesecake on a stick!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

I'm with Joan, corn dogs are my number one favorite, followed by those lemon drinks which are like lemonade on steroids! And then there's homemade peach icecream. That stuff is to-die-for. But I must confess, that after working several years at the Ohio State Fair as a teen, I truly have to be coaxed by friends and family to attend a fair of any kind. Smelling all the farm smells mixed with hot grease frying smells for one day isn't too bad. But try doing it daily for 2-3 weeks. YUCK!!

But if I do go to the fair, whomever is with me MUST accompany me to the crafts and baking competitions. Those are the best!

Oh and Joan, trust me when I tell you Sonic corn dogs are equal to the fair's!

Kate Carlisle said...

LOL, Caren. I checked out the Los Angeles County Fair site and sure enough, the highlight this year, in honor of Elvis, is a peanut butter and banana sandwich, deep fried, then drizzled with honey. My mouth is watering! And good news, the Fair's going on right now about 20 miles away from me in Pomona.

So I guess I'm not fooling anybody with my healthy California arugula lifestyle story, huh? ;-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Yes, Caren, we have "everything on a stick" here at the California State Fair, including egg roll on a stick! No, I've never had one since I don't care for egg roll sans stick.

We had the deep fried twinkies last year, and the fried coke this year. No, I didn't go last year or this year, so didn't eat either. Here in Sacto we can't get enough fairs! In addition to the 3 week State Fair extravaganza, we also have a week long county fair at the same fair grounds. Then all the neighboring counties like Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, and Nevada have their county fairs, which are far more old-fashioned and more fun, IMO. My personal favorite is the Nevada County Fair because the fair grounds are in the midst of a bunch of huge, shady redwood trees.

I seldom brave the insanity that is the State Fair, though my favorite treat when I do go is a block of ice cream (on a stick, of course) dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in diced walnuts. YUM!


Keira Soleore said...

Favorite fair food is roasted corn on the cob dripping with butter, salt, and various spices. When I was a kid, my fav fair food was cotton candy / candy floss.

I'm dying to try a fried Twinkie, but there are no such fairs out here in Seattle.

I first tried a key lime pie at a fair in Milwaukee.

Caren Crane said...

Jo, the churros sound wonderful. Like funnel cakes only kicked up a notch!

Deb, you're on! We are so going to the State Fair. First Saturday or Sunday, too, at the height of the madness! *g* We'd better make sure to get our walks in between now and then, because the cheesecake takes a toll on the thighs. :-(

Suzanne, I love corn dogs more than actual dogs. Slather them in mustard and it's like heaven on a stick!

Caren Crane said...

Kate, you must give us a report on the Elvis sandwich. Seriously! Oh, and we didn't believe your arugula story for a minute. *g*

Aunty Cindy, I am generally not a fan of ice cream, but I love those hard frozen blocks dipped in chocolate and nuts. I think they put an addictive chemical in it to make you crave it fortnightly! (that was for fans of "So I Married an Axe Murderer"!)

Keira, I had almost forgotten the roasted corn. Nothing is better than hot roasted corn on a stick with butter and salt. Man, how long is it until the Fair? It doesn't start until Oct. 12th. We have the latest State Fair in the hemisphere! Gah!!

Caren Crane said...

Kettle corn: not a favorite of mine but other people love it. Kettle corn is popcorn popped in iron kettles, then coated in sugar and honey (sometimes molasses) and then salted. It's not overly sweet, just kind of sweet and salty. This is a huge hit at the NC State Fair.

Apple Dumplings: NC grows lots of apples in the mountains, so apple dumplings and apple fritters are a staple at the Fair. My favorite is a warm, cinnamony apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream on top. They also have one with warm caramel on top (which you can then top with ice cream). Yum!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I think I would have to stick with the old standbys of corn dogs and funnel cakes, neither one tastes as good anywhere else.

Joan said...

Dang, Caren.....I'm gonna have to come the NC fair!

Better start hoarding those WW points now!

Caren Crane said...

Joan, come on down! I have a lovely guest room--if you can tolerate its proximity to my husband's office. *g*