Wonderfully Awful: County Fair Delicacies!


a blogumn by Robin Rosenzweig

I just returned home from lovely Del Mar, California after spending three glorious days at the San Diego County Fair, and can now state with confidence that the county fair as it currently exists may stand alone as the singularly most Wonderfully Awful way to spend a day (or weekend). Now, before you all smack me upside the head with a deafeningly loud collective “DUH”, let me just back this up by saying that it’s been a good five plus years since I’ve set foot at a county fair. Prior to that, I was an annual attendee of the Big Fresno Fair. I still own a roller skate belt buckle that I picked up at that very fair that provides way more significance in my life today than I ever could have imagined when I paid $13 for it back in the ‘90’s. That said, I think the fair has changed a bit since then. Or maybe I should say the food has changed. Mutated. Become freakishly insane. Yeah, that about covers it.

Note the nurse with a defibrillator on the sign. She should not be ignored.

My memory of fair food is that although one could expect everything to be deep fried, it was still normal food being deep fried. Fried chicken and fried zucchini and the like, joined by your standard corn dog and funnel cake fare. Now it’s like some kind of contest to come up with the most frightening deep fried culinary creations possible. The giant Charlie’s Chicken stand, aside from offering up fried chicken and waffles, boasted some of the most interesting dessert options at the fair, including deep fried Klondike Bars and Pop Tarts. But after walking down another couple of booths, I stumbled upon the inarguable king of the deep fried creations – FRIED BUTTER.

Yeah, I said it. Fried…butter. Deep fried sticks of butter. Now, I’m not much of an adventurist when it comes to food, so I didn’t try it. But my fiancé is far braver than me and couldn’t resist the lure. Apparently you have several sweet or savory options when it comes to how you can get your fried stick of butter. The fiancé chose to have his covered in an unhealthy dose of whipped cream.  I’m surprised they didn’t offer to just inject a syringe filled with fat directly into his arteries. Deep fried fat, that is.

By the by, when it comes to the fair, if it ain’t deep fried, it’s on a stick. And there are plenty of somethings-on-a-stick available to the fair-going public. I do think I understand the reasoning behind it. Fair attendees are a walkin’ crowd, and they don’t have time to sit down and eat their meal. So if it’s on a stick, people can enjoy it while they’re walking. That said, I’m not sure a pork chop-on-a-stick is any easier to eat than a pork chop on a plate. Same with pizza-on-a-stick. I think there are just some foods that don’t need to be stick-a-fied. But it sure is entertaining when they are.

On a side note, for those who just don’t care about whether or not they survive the fair, I suggest trying the Coronary Combo consisting of the deep fried butter and chocolate covered bacon. Not for the weak of heart. Come to think of it, you probably ought to get a thorough physical before even setting foot at your local county fair. But if everything checks out, enjoy all the gut-busting, deep fried artery-destroyers-on-sticks that your aching little heart can handle!

Deep Fried Butter Photo Credit: It’s Holly (click on pic for more info)