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The State Fair Food Experience

fried foods

The internet has exploded in the last few years with an abundance of food related videos and sites that celebrate gluttony, over indulgence and being borderline bovine in one’s eating habits.  The bacon obsession, Epic Meal Time, Guy Fieri; all dedicated to stupidly jamming your hole with greasy, meaty deliciousness.  For better or worse, it’s where we are.  And dammit, Holy Taco is there too.  We’re named after food, divine food!  And in that spirit, we offer recently made our way to a local fair to see just how much over cooked crap we could jam in our food hole while maintaining equilibrium and not vomiting.

fried onion

This is a Blooming Onion.  I think this thing was created by Outback Steakhouse and temporarily banished to Australia shortly thereafter.  It works on the premise that, if you like onion rings, you’ll like a whole damn onion the size of a toddler’s head dipped in batter and fried.  If you’re wondering how that could backfire, this pretty much covers it;

onion grease

What looks like a pool of tepid urine in that picture is actually just the run off from this Exxon Valdez of a snack.  Fried food is fried in oil, that’s obvious.  It’s less obvious that, when you drop a whole onion in oil, it acts kind of like one of those claw games, grasping fitfully at grease and clutching it to its crispy breast, only to release it on your plate in something of a deluge, making it look like the plate is slathered in pancake syrup.

The gentleman who made my onion kept wiping his sweat on an off-white rag he kept in his pocket.  He was shaved bald and had that neck roll at the back of his head hat you expect from wrestlers and guys who seduce women by arm wrestling for them.  I assumed he knew how to manage a fried onion.

Working through one of these on your own is a test of your commitment to the idea that an onion isn’t a garnish, it’s an actual meal in itself.  The first 100 or so pieces go down smooth enough, but eventually you hit a wall.  A greasy one.  It starts to hurt your mouth when you chew it, like eating too many sour candies and it’s trying to burn its way out of your insides.  But here the burn is tempered behind a wall of thick crude that forbids tastes from penetrating it to the point that, in time, your mouth feels the way you’d imagine a well-used bath mat feels.

onion grease

Fortunately, there are plenty of second string food items that you can use at a fair to distract from the onion taste for a bit and give yourself a breather.  But where to go first?

bucket of fries

The idea of a bucket of fries did seem tempting.  Not a lot of foods are sold in buckets these days, besides restaurant quantities of pie fillings and pickles on pirate ships.  As a bonus, this food vendor had playing, on a continuous, brain-liquefying loop, a track in a mock Homer Simpson voice extolling the virtues of French fries.  The entire clip was about 30 seconds long and repeated over and over, presumably all day.  I can’t imagine how the people working there didn’t resort to drowning one another in the deep fryers.


Homer Fries – Watch MoreFunny Videos

Still, it’s a bit similar to the onion, so maybe something better is needed.

 

ice cream waffles

 Something sweet would potentially cut the onion but fair food has a tradition to uphold when it comes to desserts – these are the people who fry butter and call it a treat.  So if you’re going to make hot ice cream waffles, you better deep fry them.

deep fried mars bar

That’s more like it. Is there a way we can make this chocolate bar less appealing?  Yes, submerse it in the same oil we’ve been cooking corndogs in.

 

On the other hand, the onion looks like a plate of crap.  Surely there’s got to be some other crap that looks literally more like crap that I can still pay $7 to eat.

 

It took me a moment to figure out what was in this murk, but it turns out they’re pickles.  On sticks.

 

pickles on sticks

 Just a jar of stick-stabbed pickles sitting there in the sun.  Not fried or pumped full of cheese or anything.  Just pickles. On sticks.  No.  But, if we take a little walk to the right here, you’ll notice the most terribly phallic food in the whole county.

corn dogs

The perspective is a little forced here, but these corn dogs are pretty much the size of the forearm of that person in the back.  Who’s making wieners that size and for what purpose?  And while we’re questioning things, what exactly does that giant, red, emergency stop button on the right do?  I can’t quite puzzle out what manner of grand scale battered weiner emergency might necessitate such hardware, and I’m not sure it’s even worth knowing.  I’ll eat one anyway.

 corn dog

Right here is the moment in an 18 inch long corn dog when you realize it’s not worth eating this just to write an article about the disgusting shit you ate at the fair.  It’s also the moment when your taste buds refuse to differentiate between the taste of anus meat, corn meal and salt and just settle for a flavor best described with a shrug.  I need more intense meat than this.

 pulled pork

Oh, that’s the stuff.  Right there. Pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce.  It’s a pig that’s been close to literally exploded and then slathered in spicy goodness.  The picture isn’t doing justice to the fact that this is over a pound of meat here.  You never need to eat anything that can be weighed in pounds and yet here we are.

 

Having already eaten an onion flavored grease ball, 18 inches of luke warm, corn ensconced weiner, a fried Mars bar and a cherry lemonade served in what could best be described as a pitcher, I could only manage about half of that pork before my sense of shame and intense queasiness overtook me.

 

I can confirm there is a grease saturation point, after which fried foods bring no joy anymore, and just serve to further one’s own self loathing.  I cannot explain mankind’s fascination with trying to clog as many arteries as possible with a single dish of food, but perhaps that’s something best left for the philosophers.  My speculation is that we have come to the point where the saturation of health conscience messaging got so extreme that, in swinging the other direction, people have claimed unhealthiness as a badge of pride and get a perverse pleasure out of seeing how far the envelope can be pushed towards greater, more over the top, more extreme and more disgusting foods.  Or, to put it another one, some people just don’t give a shit.  Ahh, the fair.  A delight, it is.

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