It’s July which means it’s time for the State Fair. All across America, millions of kids and adults will fight snaking traffic, risk painful sunburns, and drop bucket loads of money not to ride the tilt-a-whirl or to see a 22 pound giant rabbit, but to eat. To dive head-first into the endless sea of greasy, gooey, salty, wacky, crunchy, oversized, fabulously fried, fun fair food.
The usual sticky, sweet suspects will be there: funnel cakes, cotton candy, and caramel apples. So too will the foods on a stick, such as the Tornado Potato, grilled corn, and chocolate-dipped cheesecake wedges. And let’s not forget the dangerous and exceedingly daring deep-fried foods. From Twinkies and cheeseburgers to butter and Kool-Aid, there aren’t many foods that haven’t been battered and deep-fried at state fairs.
But of all these treats, perhaps the most beloved are the porky ones. Think about it: Is it even a fair without corn dogs? And today you can get them plain or chocolate dipped and speckled with candy sprinkles.
Who doesn’t love sausage or bratwurst on a stick or tucked into a sandwich and smothered with onions and peppers?
There are delightfully messy, mammoth pulled pork and rib sandwiches to gnaw on and entire BBQ rib competitions to savor.
And you can get bacon just about any way you like: in a burger, wrapped around a hot dog, baked into a cookie, battered and deep-fried, or dipped in chocolate.
Some states have their own unique pork pride. Iowans eats pork chops on a stick, Texans munch on country fried pork chips, and the folks at the Miami-Dade County Fair, eat their pork ice cream-sundae style. It’s called “The Pork Parfait,” and it’s unabashedly kitschy: a tall ice cream sundae glass is filled with alternating layers of pulled pork, mashed potatoes, and barbecue sauce.
So here’s to America’s insatiable hunger for state fairs and all its porky goodness. Long live the corn dog!
YoYo ride: Flickr CC, MiriamPoling; Corn dogs: Susan Russo; Bratwurst on stick: Flickr CC, Like_The_Grand_Canyon; Ribs: Flickr CC, Kasia/flickr; Girl eating chocolate-covered bacon: Flickr CC, El Biffster.